Howard Jones may not be the musician that most people think of first when they think of the 80s, but as a performer who had ten songs hit the Billboard Hot 100 (eight of which went into the top 40) over the course of the decade he was certainly successful, and several of his songs have remained dance floor staples. Like many artists from the era, he has continued to make music over the years, touring and releasing albums on his own label Dtox to a dedicated following of fans. On Tuesday night he came to The Hamilton.
While he’s touring for his 2015 album, Engage, he only played two songs – “Joy” and “The Human Touch” – from that record, “to give [the audience] a flavor of it.” Meant as a multimedia experience, he noted that performing the whole album requires “loads of stuff… lots of projectors and screens” enabling him to only do the full performance at some dates, of which unfortunately DC wasn’t one. Instead, the rest of the show focused on songs from three of his biggest albums from the 80s – Human’s Lib (1984), Dream Into Action (1985), and Cross That Line (1989).
And though it’s possible to write those songs off as artifacts of the decade that they’re from – some of these songs are so synonymous with the era (about “No One Is To Blame” he noted that many people “know the song, but don’t necessarily associate it with me”) – Jones’ faithful but often updated performances showed them to be timeless. Along with his band – Robbie Bronnimann on additional keyboards and electronics and Jonathan Atkinson on drums – Jones played many of his biggest hits including “Like To Get To Know You Well,” “Everlasting Love,” and “Life In One Day.” He closed the show out with an extended encore of “Things Can Only Get Better,” transitioning into a modern techno version at the end.
Moscow-born, LA-based singer-songwriter Marina V. opened the show, playing songs from her new album Inner Superhero as well as older releases.
All photos by Matt Condon. Click to embiggen.