Gig review: HOWARD JONES – Indigo O2, 20 February 2015

Howard Jones had this London show to promote his latest creation ENGAGE, an interactive event that is released on the 9th March on interactive CD/DVD, digital and interactive book format. The fans tonight could join in via an app on their phones and a few had day-glow gloves to join in on one part of the show. In fact one group had come in full 80′s regalia and each had a letter from Engage on the backs of their coats!

The first set tonight was the Engage work, which is a celebration of arts seen through Howard Jones’  eyes, using music, ballet, contemporary dance, cinema and philosophy. It was a very impressive show with the visuals projecting onto a see through curtain with Howard Jones and his two band members playing live behind the curtain.

Musically it veered from the late 1980′s music of Tangerine Dream through to full on rave/techno music. He has always been known for being at the cutting edge of electronic/synth music and this is a natural progression for him. Howard Jones seemed to be having a ball resplendent in an all white suit. The visuals worked well with the music and the audience seemed to enjoy it.

After an interval Howard Jones was back for a greatest hits set, this time in a dazzling pink suit which the crowd loved and they enjoyed every minute of the greatest hits set. He hinted he had a landmark birthday coming up soon and to think he will be soon sixty you would not think it from his sheer joy and enthusiasm at performing for his fans.

He is full of positive messages and of course that is reflected in his music with songs like ‘Like to Get to Know You Well’ and a new song to these ears, ‘Don’t Always Look At The Rain’, which has an uplifting chorus and lots of synths.

He does like to add some techno/dance to his older songs as he added more synth on ‘Everlasting Love’ replacing the guitar. Mind you he did play a keytar and a snippet of some Jimi Hendrix too! There was a great version of ‘What Is Love?’ showing his voice is in fine fettle still.

I have always had a soft spot for synth pop and Howard Jones, along with Ultravox, is one of the best there is and I would urge you to see him live. He is back in London at the end of June for an 80′s festival.

Review by Jason Ritchie

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