Saturday night we headed down to Kingston, mon, to see Joe Jackson at the UPAC. Of course, Robert gave us a fine feast first (mmm, chicken satay). It was the first time we had been to the venue, so it was interesting to look around. It’s a nice old theatre.
The opening band, two guys in casual wear (no, that wasn’t their name which escapes me), left little impression although the crowd that was in the theatre seemed to enjoy them. Most of the crowd was instead enjoying the bar. I whispered to Gene that I could remember when rock stars tried to look sexy. He thought they were going for a kind of hobbit chic.
They were not succeeding.
In contrast, Jackson looked suave in his grey suit and open black shirt. His trio included Graham Maby on bass (and vocals) and Dave Houghton on drums (and vocals). Houghton’s kit was all synth — if it had been analogue it would have been nigh on Keith worthy. They started with “Stepping Out” in a torchy mode for the first bit, then the trip-hop beat kicked in and the song took a whole new swing. It was wonderful. Jackson’s voice still sounds the same, that singular sound. They did a lot of songs from the new album Rain, but a few of the old songs, too. I couldn’t have been more surprised when he launched into “On Your Radio” after introducing it as dating from “when dinosaurs walked the earth,” but I wasn’t the only one pleasantly surprised. A terrific song, sung now with the full confidence of success rather than the brash bravado of youth, it still maintains that bite.
The combo played together tightly and Maby and Houghton had a lot of vocal fans in the audience. When they departed for Jackson’s solo set — which included the new song “Solo (So Low)” — the audience sent them off with applause and welcomed them back enthusiastically afterward. The big hits in the encores, of course, brought people to their feet. Jackson seemed surprised by just how enthusiastic the crowd was, singing the chorus to “You Can’t Get What You Want” so loudly that he leaned back and just mimed the words while we sang. The applause went on so long that he gave a third encore.
It was a really satisfying concert. Thanks for the tickets, Robert! And hey, the end of the month we get a visit from the Jesus of Cool himself, the fabulous Nick Lowe. Wonder if he’ll do “Bay City Rollers, We Love You!”
By the by, if you’ve been wondering why no posts of late, it has been due to problems with the router. Irksome, to say the least — so finally a moment on campus to write. Much work to do before Oxford next week. Eek. Two more weeks of teaching — yee ha. So very tired…