Shortly after opening with the bursting beats of “Pearl In The Shell,” Howard Jones told the House Of Blues a story about running into a couple earlier in the day who rather than recognizing him as an electronic pop innovator responsible for several major hits throughout the ‘80s and early ‘90s, simply flagged him down and said he looked a lot like Sting. Despite the English singer/songwriter/keyboardist shrugging off the remark (and perhaps relishing his anonymity), it really is a shame the public at large isn’t as readily familiar with the man who redefined the new wave and synthpop scenes with smashes such as “Things Can Only Get Better,” “No One Is To Blame,” “Everlasting Love” and many others.
For his encore, “New Song” and the original version of “Things Can Only Get Better” kept the dance party blazing, though it was his techno-induced reprise of the latter that sounded straight off the Spring Awakening bill and pointed out how much this retro ringleader continues to keep locked on the trends he helped create in the first place.
Though all of those surely made the set list, Jones made his day before Thanksgiving stop more than merely the oldies, introducing the brand new “Eagle Will Fly Again” (from the “Eddie The Eagle” soundtrack), which lands somewhere between a textbook ‘80s tune crossed with some EDM elements of today. The same could be said about the Kraftwerk-esque “The Human Touch” (one of two tunes from last year’s “Engage” CD/DVD), while fellow newer cut “Joy” tapped back into his softer yet still electronically enhanced side.
As strong as Jones and his longtime two-piece band sounded throughout them all, the headliner had a couple cases of pre-holiday break blunders, first having to restart “No One Is To Blame” after falling off course, and shortly thereafter, giving the more recent “Just Look At You Now” another go after losing his place. Everyone seemed to laugh at the mistakes, including an apologetic HoJo, though had he only stayed on course without having to repeat, perhaps there would’ve been enough time to sneak in the conspicuously absent singles “You Know I Love You… Don’t You?” or “Lift Me Up.”
Even so, Jones made sure to address his haunting “Hide & Seek” (performed at the monumental Live Aid), the hopeful “Life In One Day,” an updated “Everlasting Love” and the sing-a-long “What Is Love?” For his encore, “New Song” and the original version of “Things Can Only Get Better” kept the dance party blazing, though it was his techno-induced reprise of the latter that sounded straight off the Spring Awakening bill and pointed out how much this retro ringleader continues to keep locked on the trends he helped create in the first place.
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Upcoming concert highlights at House Of Blues include Pigface (Nov. 25); Children Of Bodom (Nov. 26); In Flames and Hellyeah (Nov. 30); Indigo Sun (Dec. 2); Nonpoint and Escape The Fate (Dec. 3); Steel Panther (Dec. 4); Scott Stapp: The Voice Of Creed (Dec. 6); DIGITour Winter (Dec. 7); Sister Hazel (Dec. 9-10); Musicality (Dec. 11); Rock N Roll Vs. Cancer: A Benefit For St. Jude Children’s Research (Dec. 12); Let’s Rock The Bells: A Holiday Benefit Concert (Dec. 13); Kane Brown (Dec. 17); Dru Hill (Dec. 18); Cafe Tacvba (Dec. 20-21); The White Panda (Dec. 22); Inept (Dec. 23); Chrisette Michele (Dec. 30) and Better Than Ezra (Dec. 31). For additional details, visit HouseOfBlues.com/Chicago.