Howard Jones performing his Intimate Evening Of Songs And Stories Tour at The Palace Theatre Newark on Sunday 19th March 2017

Images and Review by Kevin Cooper

Howard Jones promised an intimate evening of songs and stories and that is exactly what he delivered to a packed Palace Theatre Newark last night on his first visit back there since 1984.

Unassuming with just a keyboard on a huge stage for company he took this audience on a nostalgic trip. With a format that includes his fans emailing him with a request for a song, he admitted that he had 115 of them from his fans in Newark, so he joked that we were in for a long evening.

With opener Pearl In The Shell, the evening seemed to seamlessly flow by. Ordinary Heroes was played in honour of his parents, whilst Everlasting Love with its mash up of Twist & Shout transported us back to the Wild West.

There was his haunting Hide & Seek which he performed at the monumental Live Aid concert and the hopeful Life In One Day. With ‘Ho Jo’ being such a talented songwriter, his set allowed the audience to sit back and listen to his wonderful lyrics, which at times can be funny, engaging and sometimes very sad. None more so with the absolutely beautiful Soon You’ll Go, written about his daughter who was leaving home for University.

There were the funny moments such as his 1985 hit Like To Get To know You Well being translated for the Japanese market into something quite inappropriate, whilst No One Else To Blame showcased his consistently brilliant vocals.

With a set lasting two hours ‘Ho Jo’ had been endearing and charismatic between songs and mesmerising whilst delivering them. Finishing his set with the late George Michael’s Careless Whisper and his own hit What Is Love?, he returned to the stage for Little Bit Of Snow and a rousing sing along for New Song, proving that you don’t need a big band to entertain; if you’ve got it, you’ve got it and Howard Jones certainly has.