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Sunday, November 07, 2010


Photo copyright KulPop

Wow, another amazing night with Howard Jones at the Indig02 in London England! I was lucky enough to attend both his 20th and 25th Anniversary gigs in London and last night’s Human’s Lib / Dream Into Action concert was right up there being one of the best HoJo gigs I’ve ever been to.

Howard and band came on stage for the VIP sound check part of the night. Howard explained how the concert came about from the fans requesting it, and how they worked really hard to replicate the sounds from the original recordings. As they had the master tapes back from Warner Bros. for the remastering process they were able to access the multi-track recordings and get to the core of these complex recordings. Howard introduced the band for the evening: Robbie Bronnimann on electronics/sampling and Abelton and Jonathan Atkinson on electronic drums and explained how the set up was all connected together. Howard demonstrated the Roland Jupiter 8 and how it was connected into the Roland Fantom G8. The band then performed ‘Equality’ that was from the Top 3 songs chosen by the VIP voters. After someone shouted out that the backing vocals seemed too loud Howard disagreed and introduced the backing vocalists Lizzie Deane and John Gibbons. Howard explained how the Abelton was synced up with the visuals that were to be projected on the large screen on stage. Stephen W. Tayler who mixed and recorded the HL and DIA recordings is also a visual artist and he had created the visuals that would be featured during the concert (Howard's son Jasper created the visuals for 'Bounce Right Back'). Howard explained that they wouldn’t be performing the songs in the order that they appeared on the albums, but would be mixing them up. The band then performed ‘Hide And Seek’ from the songs voted on for the sound check. Howard then spent a few minutes running through some of his favourite sampled sounds from the first 2 albums that he would be using during the concert. He also explained that the reason for the MAC laptop on top of the Fantom G8 was an electronic crib sheet with lyrics from some of the songs he doesn’t normally perform as well as some musical info he needs. The whole sound check set lasted about 27 minutes and I think everyone felt they got a lot more from Howard during this time than what we expected.

The audience was then treated to a great DJ set by famous and very entertaining DJ Mark Jones who played lots of classic tracks from the 80’s as well as the new single from Penguin Prison.

At 8pm the concert began with Howard performing songs from his ‘Dream Into Action’ album (the complete set list is below). ‘Automaton’ was a great first song and 30 seconds into it I knew that I had made the right decision in spending the money on the trip over to London and it was going to be a magical night. During ‘Assault and Battery’ the video projected was a silhouette of Jed Hoile seated eating with a knife and fork, and at the end of the song his head had turned into a goat/cow like head. For ‘Look Mama’ Howard was joined by producer extraordinaire Rupert Hine on keyboards and backing vocals (he of course produced both Human’s Lib and Dream Into Action). It was a great treat to see Rupert on stage with Howard as I’ve been a big fan of his work for many years. For ‘Elegy” the band was joined by Vicky Matthews on cello (she also performed on the Ordinary Heroes record). ‘Speciality’ has always been a favourite song of mine and was one of the highlights of the evening for me. Before ‘Hunger For The Flesh’ Howard said ‘this song scares me’ and after a false start the song was performed perfectly. The crowd got into singing along during ‘No One Is To Blame’ and the audience loved it when Jed Hoile joined Howard on stage to perform their famous trench coat routine for ‘Bounce Right Back’. The set ended with ‘Like To Get To Know You Well’ and ‘Things Can Only Get Better’ which had Rob Hughes joining the band on stage on saxophone.

After about a 30 minute break the ‘Human’s Lib’ set started with ‘China Dance’ playing to an empty stage and the band came on stage and Howard watched the visuals in the screen behind him. Rob Hughes was back on stage playing sax on ‘Pearl In The Shell’. Howard commented several times during the night how much fun he was having performing a lot of the old songs live again. Robbie came out from behind his racks of gear near the end of 'Hunt The Self' and used a set of drum triggers to play the big tom drums. ‘Equality’ was accompanied by another video featuring Jed Hoile and the set ended with ‘What Is Love’ and ‘New Song’ with Howard playing the famous white Yamaha KX5 keyboard (as seen in the picture above). Howard thanked everyone and all the performers joined him on stage to a final bow and Howard was presented with a huge bouquet of flowers. The crowd started chanting the ‘Whoa Whoa Whoa’ refrain from ‘Things Can Only Get Better’ and after a couple of minutes Howard returned to the stage solo and performed a bit of ‘New Song’ on the Yamaha KX5 keyboard and the audience singing along with him.

So once again it was an amazing night that I will never forget. It was great meeting up with many of Howard’s fans from around the world who traveled to the concert. The good news for all of you who couldn’t make the trip is that Howard's manager David Stopps said the film of the night should be released on DVD in the future for everyone to enjoy.

Set List

Sound check:
Hide & Seek

Dream Into Action:
Why Look For The Key
Is There A Difference?
Assault And Battery
Look Mama (joined by Rupert Hine)
Dream Into Action
Hunger For The Flesh
No One Is To Blame (DIA version)
Bounce Right Back (joined by Jed Hoile for trench coat routine)
Life In One Day
Like To Get To Know You Well
Things Can Only Get Better (joined by Rob Hughes on saxophone)

Human’s Lib:
China Dance
Pearl In The Shell
Hunt The Self
Don’t Always Look At The Rain
Hide & Seek
Human’s Lib
What Is Love?
New Song

New Song (Yamaha KX5 keyboard acoustic sing-a-long version)

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