HOWARD JONES, Kingsbury Hall, Saturday
VH1 used to have a series titled "Storytellers." Music stars would play acoustic versions of their songs and tell stories of how the songs came to be.
Howard Jones did his own version of "Storytellers" Saturday night for a nicely filled Kingsbury Hall. The man who has played concerts in Utah since 1983 showed his fans, as well as newcomers, why he is so popular in the Beehive State.
Throughout the night, Jones talked with his audience as if he were having a simple conversation. He told stories about co-writing "Someone You Need" with Duncan Sheik, and how absurd the video was for "I'd Like to Get to Know You Well," which showed a saxophonist playing his sax on the beaches of Normandy while laying on a bed.
Jones, who was accompanied by longtime accompanying guitarist Robin Boult, also played songs that have yet to be recorded. "Love's Never Wasted" and "Fight On" showed Jones' honed-in knack for writing deep, catchy and uplifting songs that can sit alongside more familiar songs he performed, such as "What Is Love" and "Things Can Only Get Better."
During "Everlasting Love," the two musicians got the audience singing along and seamlessly slipped into "Twist and Shout" and "La Bamba," which audience members sang along in stride — even when "La Bamba" was in Spanish. In fact, the transition was so smooth that Jones stopped the show and asked, "Is there anything you can't do?"
When the duo launched into "Life in One Day," there was nothing that could stop the audience from singing along. Although, stop the audience did when Jones' began to revise his lyrics. "There are some lyrics that don't ring true today as they did 20 years ago," Jones said during one such stop. "My philosophy today is try to cram all you can in a day because life is too short."
The anthemlike "Tomorrow Is Now," and the encore tunes "No One Is to Blame" and "New Song," also became one big singalong. "You do it so well," he said at one point. "I'm loathe to end the set because I am having so much fun."
But as with all good things, the show had to come to a close.
Still, after 23 years of playing in Utah, Jones proved to be as good as he ever was.