Howard Jones Transform 2019 Tour and Human’s Lib turns 35.
I got to capture the 1st 3 songs of Maritime folk singer-songwriter and one of Canada’s Top 5 emerging Canada’s Walk of Fame recipients, Dave Sampson. His songs from a genre perspective are difficult to pin down, I want to say pop but the folk stands strong, a common thread thought throughout his set, was love or being in love. Captivated my attention right away, resembling another of my favorite folk acts from North Carolina entitled Avett Brothers. OUTSTANDING showcase, totally enjoyed his stage persona.
This hidden gem shone his light bright, featuring his duo performance accompanied by Toronto’s highly sought after guitarist, ‘Nickle’ (seen below)
as they revved the full outdoor crowd into a frenzy. Projecting a medley of his richly textured hits like Colorado, Wild Child, BoomTown and his 1st single No Pressure No Diamonds (from his same name studio album which F.Y.I, this recording went Gold and featured hip-hop legend, Snoop Dogg). Stay in tune at http://www.davesampson.ca
Howard Jones appeared and the cheers were deafening as I was 1 of 3 photographers below the stage in the pit, between the fans and the stage. All that separated me from the screaming fans were 5 security guards and 1 metal gate. The sea of 1000s came to catch an up-close glimpse of the King of Synth, dawned in white, as he strolled over to his Roland RD-2000 piano in rare and rejuvenating form, you most definitely wouldn’t know he will be turning 65 in a few months.
This showcase was full of lush harmonies and poignant lyrics that I, the lady of the 80-s, grew up and depended on. His hits truly have endured the test of time. If you closed your eyes and felt deeply the beats, it was like teleportation back to when we were teenagers, sadly, now 40 and 50 years old. His music was and still remains that therapeutic fountain of youth.
Opening with an intimate recreation of that iconic moment of time, where HOJO unleashed to the 100’s of 1000’s at Wembley Stadium on July 13, 1985, his Hide and Seek, saying, “will you sing with me?…..and his words were these!” Hojo sure did Transform even after 3.5 decades. I thought he couldn’t Take Us Higher,
Giving us his Everlasting Love and proving he is still a Hero in Your Eyes. Each an every single Howard Jones delivers, he gives The Human Touch.
Hojo reminded us not to live your Life in One Day, which started out unique in an alternative way with a quaint piano and guitar and in between coughs, as HJ swallowed an unexpectant amount of flies, Mr. Jones apologizes saying, “stand up, I encourage you to encourage all to stand up, next thing you will have changed the world,” then the band took over to the original version of the song, as he mentions, “I am not used to swallowing flies, after all, I am a Vegan.”
Jones encourages the audience to keep singing especially the repeat wolf howls then he states, “I am stunned, let’s do that again and again, I am addicted. You were on key and not all can nail it like you just did!” Howard would Like to Get To Know You Well as he and Robin Boult on guitar, extended this version with keytar to guitar showdown. His newest hit, Tin Man, was a delight and won the fans over, followed by yet another new song The One To Love You. Then back into his quiver asking us, What Is Love?, right into his last song of the night, ironically was his 1st ever released single New Song. The audience went crazy as Hojo said, “anything that holds you back, throw off your mental chains” where he then got the chance to say, “it is nice to play you a full set here in Toronto, where I feel very at home. I lived here in Canada, had my 1st girlfriend here and I played in my 1st band here and went ice skating for the 1st time”. Crowds deafening chants brought them back for an Encore as Howard tells us, “Back in those days when things went really wrong, as everyone has a crisis on them, and when you hit the max of despair, you ask yourself, can things get any worse? as the trio exploded with Things Can Only Get Better.” Howard Jones continues his new worldwide Transform Tour of innovative synth-pop songs, well into the third millennium, with a brilliant 80s resurgence, (1st album since 2015’s instrumental album Engage). Hojo also got to celebrate his musical milestones with his 36th anniversary in the biz on the music scene, and his debut album Human’s Lib turned 35. (released in 1984) Also, the audience acknowledged his gold and certified double-platinum status along with his album sales in access of 8 million worldwide. His shows deliver the right measures of fantastic with realistic elements of complexity and tranquility, deeply enriched with introspective delights. Howard writes compositions that are really encouraging ending the climax with optimistic spins. Howard’s trio featuring long-time collaborator Robbie Bronnimann on synths and Robin Boult on guitar presented an up close and personal stellar performance, seeing 1000’s of HOJO fans huddled side by side on the concert bench seating, throughout the CNE bandshell parkette, for their nostalgic fix of this trailblazing 80s icon. HOJO is still going strong with intense touring schedules, it’s like he is stuck in a time warp, he still carries that energized stage excitement fueled with epic proportions. So thrilled he once again presented 2 Ontario shows this year as last year, and blessed I was included, rounding out 6 shows in 3 years, a Dream Into Action for this Wire Megazine photojournalist and #1 fan. Thanks, Hojo for continuing to inspire, relieve, heal and for simply being our superlative wonder.