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Howard Jones LIVE! at the Newton Theater

By Shelley Bromberg, Photos by Love Imagery

originally published: 11/09/2017

Howard Jones LIVE! at the Newton Theater

It’s a clear and warm autumn night this Friday, October 27, 2017 outside the Newton Theatre, a jewel of a concert hall located in Newton, NJ, a pleasant and old-fashioned town, not far from the Pennsylvania and New York borders.

Like so many forty- and fifty-somethings this evening, we’re here to recapture the synthesized sounds of the 1980s — and who better to do this with than British musician, singer, and songwriter, Howard Jones?

Howard Jones LIVE! at the Newton Theater

Jones classifies his music as electro-classical rock. He first burst onto the music scene in 1983 with “New Song” and with his first two albums, Human Lib and Dream into Action, which hosted several hits including “Things Can Only Get Better,” “What is Love?” “Pearl in the Shell,” “Hide and Seek,” “Look Mama,” and “No One is To Blame.”

Howard Jones LIVE! at the Newton Theater

As we make our way inside the historic Newton Theater, we meet Richard and Cindy from Shamokin, PA. They are eager to tell us that this is the 32nd concert they’ve attended this year! Even though on their musical journey they have seen such groups as The Doobie Brothers, Journey, Tears for Fears, and Duran Duran, Cindy divulges that Howard Jones is her favorite artist because “he brings back the very best memories of junior high and high school.”

Howard Jones LIVE! at the Newton Theater

According to Richard, Jones is so special to Cindy that, in fact, this concert was an anniversary surprise. Richard instructed the couple’s daughter to be sure Mom’s calendar was clear for this special celebration. As Cindy picks up two of Jones’ autographed CD’s for sale in the lobby, she states warmly, “My life is now complete.”



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We also have an opportunity to meet Christine from Hanna, PA, who reveals she was a huge Jones’ fan in the ‘80s when she was a teen. She recalls that she faced hardships in her family and Jones’ lyrics spoke directly to her.

“No matter how bad they are, ‘things can only get better, ’” she contends.

Howard Jones LIVE! at the Newton Theater

Bob and Marie from Sparta tell us that Howard Jones’ music brings back special memories for both of them. They met in high school and Jones’ music was the soundtrack to their dating years in the mid-eighties. They both enter the theater each holding a double CD, excited to relive a special time in their lives together.

As we take our seats in the pristine theatre, we notice the stage is set with electronic percussion gear, an electronic drum set, two digital keyboards linked to computers, and an electric guitar and amp combo.

When the house lights dim, the band takes the stage, and Howard Jones enters looking and sounding as young and sprite as he did in the eighties.

Taking the stage in his three piece outfit — pants, hooded jacket, and T-shirt which share a common pattern of maroon with red paint splatters — Jones has a strap around his neck sporting a handheld keyboard.

Howard Jones LIVE! at the Newton Theater

He begins the show with an electric performance of “Like to Get to Know You Well.” Many in the crowd join in on the chorus while they clap their hands to the driving beat. Like to get to know you well/Like to get to know you well/So we can be one/We can be one together.

Some in the crowd are standing and dancing as Jones’ electric guitarist rocks out on his solo.

Howard Jones LIVE! at the Newton Theater

As the band wails, Jones yells out to the crowd in his thick British accent, “Come on! Let me see you!”

Now that the audience is warmed up, Jones plays a lively and energetic rendition of his 1983 single “Conditioning,” as the synthesized beat pulsates through the theatre. The crowd takes in the yellow and blue alternating spotlights beaming onto the band, as various colorful images are projected onto two screens set up on each of the side stage walls.

Fans are delighted when the band begins it’s recognizable — yet slow and steady — opening to “Everlasting Love.” Jones jams on the keyboard as synchronized harmonies back him up.

Howard Jones LIVE! at the Newton Theater

The audience sings and dances along with Jones as he sings, I need an everlasting love. I need a friend and a lover divine/And everlasting precious love/Wait for it, wait for it/Give it some time.

Soon, fog covers the stage and the screens display mime-like images resembling figures from the famous 80’s video to this song. Colorful images of kaleidoscopes in motion appear on the screens.

Next, Jones’ delivers on his 1986 single “No One Is to Blame” — his biggest hit in the United States.

Howard Jones LIVE! at the Newton Theater

Jones sounds rich and clear, and his falcetto voice shows off his British soul. As he beautifully croons, the audience takes in the moving lyrics about insatiable dreams and desires that can never be met: And you want her/And she wants you/No one, no one, no one ever is to blame.

Without a doubt, the highlight of the evening is the show’s finale, when Jones and the band rock out on the upbeat and infectious “Things Can Only Get Better”— Jones’ 1985 Top 5 U.S. Billboard pop hit which also crossed over to the R&B charts.

Jones cooly jams out on the keyboard, once again proving his skill as both a singer and musician.

Howard Jones LIVE! at the Newton Theater

Everyone is up on their feet, moving to the driving synthesized beat and belting out the lyrics that taught an entire generation how to look on the bright side. They joyfully sing along with Jones: And do you feel scared, I do/ But I won’t stop and falter/And if we threw it all away/Things can only get better.

As we leave the theatre — still singing this tune now imprinted in our minds — we take a moment to catch up with several audience members and find out what they thought about this evening’s performance.

States Steve from Jefferson Township, “Jones is an amazing singer. The evening definitely brought me back to my teenage years.” His wife, Adele agrees, adding, “Howard Jones is a talented musician who surely knows how to put on a great show!”

Howard Jones LIVE! at the Newton Theater

Marian from North Bergen tells us she’s a long-time Howard Jones’ fan. She reveals she’s “always treasured ‘No One is to Blame,’” and — as a result — was “delighted to learn he’d be performing here in Newton, NJ.”

When asked what she thought of the concert, Marian exclaims, “Howard Jones is still number one! He still has all of the moves of the ‘80s minus the big hair!”

Howard Jones LIVE! at the Newton Theater

Lastly, we meet up once again with married couple Bob and Marie and ask them what they thought of tonight’s show.

Bob states that “I’ve always like Howard Jones’ music, and tonight I could see what a really gifted keyboard player he is.” Marie agrees, telling us,“The show was spectacular — I had an amazing time!” before concluding, “It was like going back to the ‘80s for a night!”

Howard Jones LIVE! at the Newton Theater

To learn more about Howard Jones, please go to howardjones.com. For information on future concerts at the Newton Theatre — including The Stanley Clarke Band on November 12 and Max Weinberg’s Jukebox featuring Glen Burtnick and The Weeklings on December 8— please click on thenewtontheatre.com.





State Theatre Presents Diana Krall: Turn Up the Quiet Tour
(NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ) -- State Theatre New Jersey presents Diana Krall live in concert as part of her Turn Up The Quiet World Tour on Friday, October 12 at 8:00pm. Tickets range from $43-$153.50.  This concert will feature songs from Diana Krall’s stunning new album, Turn Up The Quiet, out now on Verve Records as well as a mix of some fan favorites. 
Kean Stage Presents The Manhattan Transfer
(UNION, NJ) -- Going strong after more than 45 years, Grammy Award winner The Manhattan Transfer, with tenor vocals from Kean University alumnus Alan Paul '71, will captivate Kean Stage audiences with their distinctive four-part harmonies at Enlow Recital Hall on Sunday, September 30 at 3:00pm.
3rd Annual North Jersey Indie Rock Festival
(JERSEY CITY, NJ) -- The North Jersey Indie Rock Festival returns to Jersey City on October 6. Presented by Mint 400 Records and Sniffling Indie Kids, the festival includes acts from those labels and Little Dickman Records, Rhyme and Reason Records, and State Champion Records.  The festival takes place at White Eagle Hall. Doors are at 4:00pm and the music starts at 4:30pm. Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door.
The Dryden Ensemble Presents Bach Cantata Fest
(PRINCETON, NJ) -- The Dryden Ensemble will present a Bach Cantata Fest on Saturday, October 20 at 7:30pm at Trinity Episcopal Church, 6587 Upper York Road, Solebury, Pennsylvania, and on Sunday, October 21 at 3:00pm at Miller Chapel, located on the campus of Princeton Theological Seminary, 64 Mercer Street, Princeton, New Jersey. Tickets are $25 for general admission and free to students with an ID. They may be purchased at the door or online at www.drydenensemble.org.
Steve Barton & Robert Darlington From Translator To Perform at Randy Now's Man Cave
(BORDENTOWN, NJ) -- Whether it's pure pop or moody acoustic ballads, singer/songwriter/guitarist, Steve Barton, has developed a reputation for crafting some of the most literate and poignant music in underground rock.  In addition to being a founding member of the revered punk/psychedelic band Translator, perhaps best known for the Barton-penned song "Everywhere That I'm Not", he has released several solo albums.  The seventh and latest, "Tall Tales and Alibis", is a sprawling triple album tour de force filled with Steve's brand new songs, which was released in March by Sleepless Music.   To celebrate the release of the record, Barton will be making a rare live appearance with his Translator partner Robert Darlington, this Sunday, September 23 at Randy Now's Man Cave in Bordentown (134 Farnsworth Ave) at 7:00pm.  


From the Ballpark to the Concert Stage: Bernie Williams LIVE! at The Grunin Center
Fans of sports and music are lining up outside Toms River, NJ’s Grunin Center of the Arts this Saturday, September 8, 2018 for a concert by four-time World Series Champion and Latin Grammy-Nominated guitarist/composer Bernie Williams and his All-Star Band!
“Here’s Lucie!” Lucie Arnaz LIVE! at the PNC Bank Arts Center
Even though the weather outside Holmdel, NJ’s PNC Bank Arts Center is cloudy with some light intermittent drizzle this Wednesday, September 12, 2018 afternoon, the venue’s stage is still shining brightly with talent thanks to a live performance by television, film, and stage actress/singer Lucie Arnaz!
Mike Aiken Talks About Aiken & Friends Fest, North Branch At RVCC
(BRANCHBURG, NJ) -- Raritan Valley Community College presents Aiken & Friends Fest, North Branch on Friday, September 21 and Saturday, September 22.  The three-day event will feature a number of different musical shows by Mike Aiken, as well as other solo artists and groups.  
Virtuoso Jazz Violinist Jean-Luc Ponty LIVE! at the Newton Theatre
It’s a warm but lovely Aug. 23, 2018 evening here in Newton, NJ. After enjoying some hand-dipped Cliff’s ice cream from the window at Hayek Market, we march up Spring Street looking forward to hearing some world-class jazz at one of the Garden State’s favorite concert venues, The Newton Theatre.
An Interview with Bernie Williams
Four-time World Series Champion and Latin Grammy-Nominated guitarist and composer Bernie Williams will perform with his All-Star Band at the Jersey Shore this Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018 at The Grunin Center of the Arts in Toms River, NJ!










Event calendar
Saturday, Sep 22, 2018


MUSIC

Asbury Park Porchfest @ Booskerdoo, Asbury Park - 12:00pm

Carl Chesna & Co. @ Hotel Tides, Asbury Park - 1:00pm

Echoes @ The Stone Pony, Asbury Park - 7:00pm

Cole Swindell @ Hard Rock Live Etess Arena at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Atlantic City, Atlantic City - 8:00pm

GRUPO NICHE @ Bergen Performing Arts Center (bergenPAC), Englewood - 8:00pm

The History of Motown @ Englewood Public Library, Englewood - 7:00pm

Drake Bell @ iPlay America, Freehold - 7:00pm

Classic Stones Live feat. The Glimmer Twins @ The Levoy Theatre, Millville - 8:00pm

Opera Theatre of Montclair Presents Hansel and Gretel @ Central Presbyterian Church, Montclair - 4:00pm


Oscar D’León with Tony Vega and Los Hermanos Moreno @ Prudential Hall @ New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), Newark - 8:00pm

SunDog Band at Duffy's Tavern, Paterson NJ @ Duffy's Tavern, Paterson NJ, Paterson - 9:00pm

Celtic Thunder X @ Count Basie Center For The Arts, Red Bank - 8:00pm

Young Person's Concert @ River Dell Middle School Auditorium, River Edge - 1:00pm


Tigerman record release show for “Descend Into Savagery” @ Debonair Music Hall, Teaneck - 8:00pm

Hubby Jenkins @ Lizzie Rose Music Room, Tuckerton - 7:30pm







THEATRE

Souvenir @ Surflight Theatre, Beach Haven - 8:00pm

East Lynne Theater Company presents SILENT SKY @ First Presbyterian Church (Cape May), Cape May - 8:00pm

The Shuck @ Cape May Stage, Cape May - 3:00pm and 7:30pm

Incorruptible @ Ritz Theatre Company, Haddon Township - 8:00pm

West End Festival of the Arts- Theatre Brut Session 2 @ West End Arts Center, Long Branch - 2:00pm

Evita @ Broadway Theatre of Pitman, Pitman - 2:00pm and 8:00pm

Seuls en Scene French Theater Festival - "Claire, Anton et Eux" @ Class of 1970 Theatre, Whitman College, Princeton - 2:00pm and 8:00pm

HUMAN ERROR by Eric Pfeffinger @ West Windsor Arts Center, Princeton Junction - 8:00pm

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest @ Black Box PAC, Teaneck - 8:00pm

Assisted Living: The Musical @ Jay & Linda Grunin Center For The Arts At Ocean County College, Toms River - 2:00pm

Brick City @ Premiere Stages at Kean University, Union - 3:00pm


DANCE

SWAN LAKE - THE ATLANTIC CITY BALLET @ The Strand Theater, Lakewood - 7:00pm

SOLE Defined @ Mainstage @ Union County Performing Arts Center (UCPAC), Rahway - 8:00pm


LITERATURE

Monthly Saturday Writing Retreats @ Tiferet Journal, Bernardsville - 9:00am

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