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REVIEW: HOWARD JONES – HUMAN’S LIB / DREAM INTO ACTION TOUR [2012]

THIS IS NOT RETRO SAYS...

Towards the end of the first set at the Bournemouth show - this one dedicated to the 'Dream Into Action' album - and before introducing the track 'Life In One Day', Howard shared a story about how concerned his record label were on first hearing the album that, prior to the addition of that song, it might be somewhat lacking in singles. To be honest they may have been right because the first half of this evening's show takes a bit of time to get going. Partly that's down to the album itself, 'Dream Into Action' - heavy on introspective, atmospheric material and rather light on crowd-pleasing pop hits - is a tricky album to present within the confines of this format, but the performance itself is oddly lacking in energy, with Howard and the two musicians who make up his band tending to remain static and hidden behind their respective consoles leaving most of the visual effects to a huge screen behind the stage that mostly played rather uninspiring screensaver-style animations.

A break between the two sets of almost forty minutes felt much too long at the time, but it did give the audience time to have a couple of drinks and loosen up for the second performance of the evening, dedicated to Jones' debut album 'Human's Lib'.

The difference between the two sets was extraordinary with the band on fine form, and Jones in particular appearing much more relaxed and comfortable with the 'Human's Lib' material. It's not a long album, but for me this second half flew by. From the instrumental opener 'China Dance' my highlights included a poignant 'Hide & Seek', a monster reinterpretation of 'What Is Love?' - which pretty much justified the entire evening on its own - and a rousing version of 'New Song' to finish.

To steal a phrase from football this was a game of two halves. I'm just glad I stuck around for the second!

HOWARD JONES - Human's Lib / Dream Into Action Tour 2012

WE'LL GIVE IT...

TYPICAL SETLIST

BOURNEMOUTH O2 ACADEMY - 20/4/2012
SET 1
- Automaton / Why Look for the Key / Is There A Difference? / Assault & Battery / Look Mama / Elegy / Specialty / Dream Into Action / Hunger For The Flesh / No-One Is To Blame / Bounce Right Back / Life In One Day / Like To Get To Know You Well / Things Can Only Get Better SET 2 - China Dance / Conditioning / Pearl In The Shell / Natural / Hunt The Self / Don't Always Look At The Rain / Equality / Hide & Seek / Human's Lib / What Is Love? / New Song

TOUR DATES

APRIL
11 - O2 Academy Bristol / 12 - O2 Academy Sheffield / 13 - O2 Academy Liverpool / 14 - O2 Academy Birmingham / 17 - O2 Academy Newcastle / 18 - O2 ABC Glasgow / 20 - O2 Academy Bournemouth / 21 - O2 Shepherds Bush Empire, London

JUNE
23 - Mayo Performing Arts Center, Morristown, NJ / 28 - Moody Theater, Austin, Texas / 29 - House Of Blues, Dallas, Texas / 30 - House Of Blues, Houston, Texas

JULY
7 - Paramount Theater, NYC / 12 - Mezzanine, San Francisco / 13 - Canyon Theater, Agoura Hills / 14 - Sycuan Showcase Theatre, El Cajon / 15 - The Coach House, San Juan Capistrano

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Please rate this tour below, and share your thoughts in the comments section further down the page.

* * * *   FROM 10 VOTES
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CONTENT ADDED: Apr 14th, 2012

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2 COMMENTS
  1. ADDED BY nutfox on Apr 18th, 2012

    I went to see the show in Newcastle last night and I have to say, the show is definitely one for the purists. If you remember Howard from the 80's and are popping along to hear a few of his famous hits, you'll probably wish you hadn't. I'm a big Howard fan but found the first half tough-going, being as he played the 'Dream into Action' album in it's entirety. In my humble opinion, that album had three hit singles and at least six fillers. Also, with songs like 'Like to get to know you well' and 'Life in one day', he overdid them by at least two minutes each.

    However, the second half was worth waiting for - playing the Human's lib album in it's entirety, the edgy, raw energetic vibe of the album was even more powerful live and loud - especially 'Equality' and 'Hunt the self'. Sadly, HJ chose some awful saw-synth sounds for the keyboard solos which didn't really match those on the original record and chose to open out the middle eight in 'what is love' with a weird flanging phaser, which just irritated me. Then for the encore he strapped on a keyboard-guitar and played 2 and a half minutes of New song with just voice and organ chords, before the band came in and played the song again in it's entirety (Jones getting lost at one point and had to stop singing to try and establish which part of the song he was in before picking it up at the first chorus).

    However, I knew what I was getting myself into when I bought the ticket - he did exactly what it said on the tin. He did regale a few interesting stories, including one pony-tail grabbing incident when playing on the TV show 'The Tube', which had the audience in stitches - but as I say, unless you are h-core HJ, this probably isn't the show for you.

    Roll on Nik Kershaw in September!


  2. ADDED BY tastyparmo on Apr 27th, 2012

    I also saw the Newcastle show and throughly enjoyed it.
    I'd read earlier that he was playing the albums out of track order and Dream Into Action first and this was a good thing because, like the previous reviewer said, that album does have a lot of filler on it.
    Human's Lib was superb to hear as I'm very familiar with the album, my wife less so but she still seemed to enjoy the night despite probably not knowing most of the tracks.
    Howard introduced "No-One Is To Blame" as having done two versions, "..and the Phil Collins one, but we're doing the Dream Into Action version" to which some daft heckler yelled "we prefer your version Howard"."Actually, I did them both."
    Good show and great to see him doing a proper set having only previously seen him at Rewind or Here And Now short stints in recent years.
    Also ended up shelling out a small fortune on the entire remastered CD collection at the merch desk.


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