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Howard Jones: 20th Anniversary - Live At Shepherd's Bush Empire [DVD] 
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Recorded at London's Shepherd's Bush Empire in 2003, this 20th anniversary live performance by Howard Jones features some of his biggest hits, including 'What is Love', 'Things Can Only Get Better' and 'No One is to Blame'.
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Top Customer Reviews
The live versions of the songs haven't stopped playing in my head for weeks!!
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The concert consists of 4 parts, one an acoustic show that is in the style that he toured with in the early 90's with Carol Steele, very stripped down versions of songs, just Howard and one or two guest musicians, very nice, and I personally think it shows Howard's true talents of a GREAT singer/songwriter. Part 2 is something that will appeal to anyone who remembers the early Howard shows, a one man band, with a wall of synthesizers, and his friend/mime Jed Hoile. Watching and listening to Howard struggle with the prehistoric (by today's standards) equipment was fun, but the songs still sounded great, and even though this part of the concert is very retro, it has a modern twist to it with enhanced sounds and updating. Pt 3 is the most enjoyable for me, featuring how Howard is today, very Electronic with a great club/dance feel, yet still remaining true to his original style. Pt 4 is a full on band (the largest I've ever seen him peform with), and has special appearances by Nene and Midge Ure (who toured with Howard back in the late 80's), and remain great freinds today. I loved how each style represented a particular phase of his touring life, and the audience seems to react just as well to each part.
The real star here is Howard and his songs though. I can't really think of anyone who relates to their audience better, or shows such great passion for their work and fans. It's no wonder that people from all over the world, flew many thousands of miles to attend. Howard Jones is a reat ARTIST, and many of todays contemporaries could take a real lesson from him on how to put on a great show, and APPRECIATE your fans! It wouldn't suprise me to see a 40th Anniversary concert, because Howard Jones following is very loyal, and he's still making great music today (pick up Revolution of the Heart CD for something new and fresh from Howard)..
The DVD extra's are wonderful. A 40 minute interview with Howard really shines a light on the man himself, talking about his spirituality and how it influences him and his outlook on life, music, and people. He remininses about the past 20 years, but really puts a focus on the freinds he's made. It was quite touching. The 2nd DVD bonus features focus on the Band, and has a great interview with David Stopps his long time Manager, Rupert Hine who produced his couple of albums.. They're feeling and my feeling while I was watching this concert and looking back at all the times in my life at concerts, or listening to a particular song of Howard Jones doesn't differ that much. He touches people in a very profound way. It's not "in your face", it's just a quiet nod and wink really.. just can't say enough good things about a truly great artist who can make you smile and cry all in the course of a few lyrics or notes.
FINALLY this DVD is available on NTSC so all his North American fans can enjoy the show.. Keep making music Howard, your fans will always follow you because there aren't many artist today who do it as well as you've done it for 20+ years now. Thanks for all the great moments!
Something about those words struck a chord with me, and as I continued to listen to "Humans Lib" I knew there was something unique about Howard Jones.
The music was exceptionally well-crafted new wave pop with interesting layered synthesized sounds, and even more interesting lyrics.
Twenty years later, and Howard's songs still mean as much to me. He has added more great songs to my list of favourites with every album release, making a Twentieth Anniversary Concert the concentration of many of the musical highlights of my life.
Don't get me wrong: I'm not a complete fanatic, I like a very broad range of music. But Howard has stayed at the very top of my list of favourite artists because his music is not shallow, he doesn't try to stay in the same niche and he doesn't give up.
An acoustic concert with Howard Jones is every bit as enjoyable as electric set or a full band.
Which is what makes the 20th Anniversary Concert 2-Disc DVD exceptional. Four sets covering 20 years of some of the best pop music ever written shows us the very best of what Howard Jones has given to the world.
It starts with just him and Andy Ross playing together. But no, not keyboard and percussion, nor keyboard and guitar - but keyboard and some kind of mandolin, which Ross uses as both a string instrument and percussion. Not to be outdone, Howard's next guest, Nick Beggs, brings on his Chapman Stick - a ten string electric bass guitar whose strings are tapped rather than plucked - played almost like a piano with both hands. The skill is incredible - and the synergy is invigorating. And we're only two songs into the gig.
The momentum increases as, after the acoustic set we are treated to a pure nostalgia ride with Howard playing his original synthesizer setup from the mid-eighties era, joined by his signature mime-artist Jed - the 'chain guy'. And with the 5.1 surround mix those synths never sounded better!
With any normal live concert DVD this would be a full meal deal. But this concert is the equivalent of a multi-course Italian wedding feast. Insert the second DVD and the ride continues to get better, with Howard's modern electric set fully utilizing the latest in modern music technology, and his new right-hand man, Robbie Bronniman on the live mixing desk. But we're not listening to house dance music, we're listening to great new Howard Jones pop compositions and reworkings of old favourites which, frankly, rock the house. By this point, the audience is pumped and involved, whether you were there on the night or witnessing it on this DVD, in what genuinely feels like first hand.
Enter the full band for the finale - and what a finale it is. Howard seems to be more in his element than ever behind a grand piano with the full support of guitar, bass, keyboard, drums and backing. Which may well surprise those who narrowly pidgeon-hole him as a synth-pop spiky-haired throwback of the 80's. Howard Jones comes out of his synthesizer constrained cocoon, meta-morphosizing into what Rubert Hine, producer of his first two albums, explains (in the extra features interview) he wants the world to know: "he's an utterly brilliant singer/songwriter."
Until now it's all been about Howard Jones. But this is a special occasion, and so Nena ("99 Red Balloons") joins in to sing her anthem in native German and Midge Ure (Ultravox, Band Aid) performs "Dancing With Tears In My Eyes" and the classic 80's anthem "Vienna".
Howard's band then tops off the evening with some more classics and you're left energized and astounded.
Fantastic. Buy it.
The best value music DVD out there.
ACOUSTIC - We make the weather, Dreaming on, Pearl in the shell, Someone you need, Life in one day, and No one is to blame
RETRO - Natural, Equality, Hide and Seek, Don't always look at the rain, New song, Bounce right back
ELECTRO - Conditioning, Just look at you now, Like to get to know you well, Hunt the self, All I want, I don't hate yo, Revolution of the heart, You know I love don't you?
FULL BAND - Tomorrow is now, Wedding Song, 99 Luft Balloons, Dancing with tears in my eyes, Vienna, Prisoner, Everlasting Love, What is love? Things can only get better
Now all I need to be completely happy is two things. One for this to become available in Blu-Ray (I'd buy it again) and for Howard Jones state-side counter-part "Solitaire" to finally release "Solitaire - Live at Maxwell's 84" (which has been promised for a few years). But for now I'll watch this, enjoy Howard Jones greatest hits and the newly released digital LP "Solitaire" Best Of: 83-86. That should help me and everyone who needs a synth fix!
The DVD itself is packed with extras like interviews with the band and Howard himself. Not to mention that Sadia did an incredible job of designing the artwork. It's beatiful.
I'm planning to purchase the NTSC version just so I can play it at the clubs I vj at here in NYC.
Get this DVD if you are an 80's fan....but definitely get it if you're a Howard Jones fan. I assure you that your money will be well invested!
The concert itself, as one reviewer described, featured many special guests, including Nena, the 80s "one hit wonder" of "99 Luft Balloons/99 Red Balloons". The set was in four parts, to reflect the many musical styles of Howard's anthology, from synth to acoustic.
As a special treat, any long-time fan of Howard's will immediately recognize Jed, his 80s mime/visual artist, who in true form mimed to Howard's classics.
The energy at the concert was just incredible, and fans from all over the world were there to wish Howard a happy 20th anniversary. Anyone who has ever been curious about Howard's music or who saw his illuminating performance on last summer's NBC series "Hit Me Baby One More Time" will be well served purchasing this DVD.