Howard Jones Review De Montford Hall Leicester 29th May 2019

Howard Jones the master of Synth pop music returns with a bang with the album called Transform. Many of the new songs were on the set list mixed with some of his classics.

Howard Jones took to the stage where he immediately gained the attention of the audience as he spoke about where it all began in 1984. He reminisced about Live Aid and he gave anecdotes from his experience doing the concert. He walked towards the piano and he started to gently press the keys, the crowd shouted and whooped as he began his show. The audience then sat silent in awe of Howard Jones singing the heartfelt song, you could have heard a pin drop.

Howard Jones then picked up the pace with his second song as he immersed himself in singing and dancing to his synth music that he is famous for. The show felt like Howard Jones had gone back to his roots, where he first started 35 years a go. Howard Jones was a pioneer of synth in the 80’s and he has taken synth pop to new levels.  The songs had a feel good factor about them making you want to dance and move. Howard Jones performed with energy and feeling, with his natural stage presence. He looked like he was in his element as he performed his jazzy synth sounds, catchy melodies and introspective and life affirming lyrics. Howard Jones has adapted his older songs to his present contemporary style that works perfectly for his show. The transitions between old and new songs were seamless throughout the show. Howard’s ability to switch pace with the different songs did not seem out of place as he returned to the piano with his guitarist Robbie Bronnimann to sing “Human’s Lib”. The simplicity of the two worked wonderfully as well as the minimal lighting created a magical atmosphere and will have been nostalgic for the life long fans of Howard Jones.

The audience were happy and they cheered when they heard classic songs like “What Is Love”, “Like To Get To Know You Well”, Life In One Day”, “Human’s Lib.” These famous songs lifted the crowds spirits further as the show went on. When “New Song” started, the big screen featured parts of the original music video from 1983 on Holborne Underground, where a very young Howard Jones was shown.   

The track “Beating Mr Neg” speaks of the negative voice in your head that stops you from achieving your potential. It felt like Howard Jones was trying to say to acknowledge these thoughts, manage them and be the best you can be and achieve those goals. There was a thread of positive messages throughout the songs. Messages of change are philosophical in the sense that in order to change the world people need to change themselves first. Taking ownership of our actions rather than relying on others to make the changes.    

Howard Jones has considered every element of his show it was a show for your senses with the incredible lighting. At the beginning of the show there was a white curtain that was used to show the light through making the stage look 3D. At one point he went behind the curtain and the spotlights were put on him creating different effects. He stood under the spotlight with the rest of the stage being left dark which had a powerful impact as the lights changed quickly again. When the curtain was removed it revealed a huge screen with animated people or characters dancing. Howard Jones interacted with the characters on screen facing them that worked well as his movements were choreographed well with the screen. Even when he had his back to the screen he moved in sync with the characters like a trained martial artist doing Capoeira.

Howard Jones was natural and authentic and he was simply being himself. He performed the songs with such conviction and passion that flowed from him. Howard still loves his work 35 years on and it is clear that he doesn’t intend to stop here.

His fans were out in number tonight and they were up out of their seats as they danced and clapped. The audience adored his show as they requested more as the band walked off stage. Howard Jones returned to sing his final song ‘We’re In This Together.’ “35 years on and still rocking, we’re in this together” was his closing statement before thanking the audience and leaving the stage for the final time. The crowd gave him a standing ovation as they watched their hero leave the stage after having watched a thoroughly entertaining show.  

Richard Clark

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