In antici-PA-tion (thank you Rocky Horror) for the Howard Jones / OMD show TONIGHT(!) (6.24.2016) in Portland, Maine (they are opening for Barenaked Ladies, though I think it should BNL opening up for HoJo and OMD), I wanted to share this today.
As I’ve expressed on the blog before, I’ve loved the Synthpop brilliance of Howard Jones since the moment I heard “New Song.” I’m so excited to be able to see him perform again, for first time in nearly 20 years. Back in 1998, I saw HoJo (with Culture Club and The Human League) on The Big Rewind Tour at the then-Harbor Lights Pavilion in Boston. I enjoyed all three acts, but seeing HoJo perform was the thrill of the concert for me.
Howard Jones is such an amazingly-gifted performer and prolly one of the nicest people in the business. From the moment I met my dear friend Shawn in Portland back in the mid-90s, I always half-joked with him how much he looked like Howard Jones. He still kinda reminds me of him. Both very classy guys; maybe that’s the connection – not so much about the looks, but more like the classy way about them.
There were so many great HoJo songs I could have put up here on the blog today, but this underrated gem came to mind right away. From Howard’s fourth album, 1989’s CROSS THAT LINE, “The Prisoner” was HoJo’s last hit of the 80s, and one of my all-time favorites of his.
“The Prisoner” was the second single released from CROSS THAT LINE (following the sweet “Everlasting Love” (a No. 12 hit on the BILLBOARD Hot 100), and became his eighth U.S. Top 40 hit, spending a week at No. 30 in late August 1989. It was also a Top 30 hit on BILLBOARD’s Modern Rock chart.
I had forgotten how incredibly innovative the video for “The Prisoner” was for the time, and I still think it’s pretty damn cool today. The video was done without the benefit of computerized graphics and instead with some photo and video editing (orchestral-like?) maneuvers. You should check it out by clicking the link at the end of the post.
Back in 2013, Howard Jones released C3LEBRATI0N, songs specifically chosen from his (then) 30-year career. You’ll find “The Prisoner” on there, and hopefully he’ll dig it out for the show tonight, where you can find me in the first section, and in a manner so unlike “The Prisoner,” without the aid of a camera. I’m going to celebrate and watch HoJo perform like I used to watch concerts back in the 80s – with my own eyes and not through a lens…