Howard Jones, one of the biggest synth pop new wave music stars of the early 1980s, played a very special concert last week at the Canyon Club in Westlake.
The cavernous dinner theater is well known for its predominantly ‘80s lineup of musical talent. But this show was one of only a handful that Jones was performing in the United States.
His appearance in this country was a rare occasion in any event, but this was a very special concert celebrating the remastering of his first two albums. Human’s Lib and Dream Into Action were performed in their entirety for the first time ever on a U.S. tour. The albums were broken into two 90-minute sets and included several other hit songs from the same era.
Jones appeared with a scaled down three-piece group, including a computer synth master and an electronic drummer. The aging singer still has a clear, fresh voice and has become an even more masterful keyboard player over the years.
Jones began recording hit songs in England in 1983, and Human’s Lib eventually became a double platinum-selling record. It was great to hear all of the less well-known tracks on the album, and you could literally hear the evolution of his sound into the dance- and pop-oriented hit-making machine that his music eventually became.
Thanks to regular rotation on MTV, back when the channel actually played music videos nonstop, he became a star in the United States by 1984. He continued making hit records until the ‘90s before leaving the spotlight to pursue a variety of interests.
In one of his many chats during the first set, he relayed the story of how his latest tour to the United States was almost waylaid by a problem securing his visa. A big cheer went out for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s office, who helped him expedite the request.
By the time HoJo, as he is known by his fervent fans, appeared to play the second set, the packed house was ready to get out of their seats and dance to the tunes that many of them grew up with. The set featuring the second album, Dream Into Action, was a much more lively one, and everyone was dancing by the time the three-hour concert came to a close.
— L. Paul Mann is a Noozhawk contributing writer. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk or @NoozhawkNews. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.