Special Guest: Elise Yuill
The Epstein Theatre, Liverpool
February 12, 2016
Tour Information: http://www.howardjones.com
For Elise Yuill Information: http://www.eliseyuill.com
It might be 30+ years since Howard Jones burst on to the musical landscape or – according to him, crawled onto it – with New Song, but rest assured that his talent remains timeless, his enthusiasm for performing undiminished and his ability to engage with his audience is still second-to-none.
Yet whilst Jones will forever be remembered for so many seminal 80s hits – many of which are performed during this 2 hour set, let’s take a moment and applaud Elise Yuill whose Contemporary Folk warm up set was not only beautifully performed, it also underlined the fact that talent will always out, without the need for shows hell bent on ridiculing or undermining its performers.
Listen to Castle of Sand and say that here is a young, English singer/songwriter who doesn’t have a big future and I will laugh out loud and say “nonsense!”
So, back to Mr. Jones. With Pearl In A Shell kicking things off nicely, albeit on keys rather than synths and somewhat stripped back as are all the songs on offer this evening, it quickly becomes apparent that nothing has been lost with regards to the richness, depth and range of the man’s voice.
Nothing has gone from his charming politeness, either, as he regales us with anecdote upon anecdote – particularly with regards to the faultless I’d Like To Get You Know You, Well and the Japanese marketing efforts that nearly ended in disaster, and the awe-struck, star blinded stories of back stage at Live Aid; with his performance Hide & Seek tonight, memories of that roasting hot day at 3:50 in the afternoon came flooding back along with the same tingling in the blood that that moment brought as well. A magnificent song, magnificently performed indeed.
Yet not the highlight, as two covers can vie to have taken that honour. The sad passing of Colin Vearncombe earlier this month, lead Jones to leave his own tribute to the Black vocalist who hails from this city and Wonderful Life has rarely been sung with such emotion fuelling it. Much the same can be said, too, of the haunting, multi-layerd vocalisation of Brian Wilson’s Beach Boys classic, God Only Knows which really had the tiny nape of the neck hairs dancing on end.
Yet to ignore Howard Jones’ own catalogue here would be remiss and it is good to see that hits such Life In A Day and What Is Love? sit nicely alongside new songs such as Hero In Your Eyes which will feature on the Eddie “The Eagle” Biopic to be released in cinemas later this year.
The hair may be a little thinner on top, a little less blond and coiffed – but then, whose isn’t? – but rest assured that Howard Jones can still knock ‘em dead in the aisles, as all those of the near sold out audience standing in acclaim at the end will testify.
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