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The Peaceful Tour

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Album Review

"That's the fate of all us artists," gripes a writer in Tom Stoppard's play The Real Thing. "People saying they preferred the early stuff." For an artist as inventive and forward-looking as Howard Jones, it takes a certain amount of courage to give those people what they want. In the first dozen years after the synth pop pioneer vanished from the pages of Billboard, Jones dabbled with new age, country & western, reggae, blues, and acoustic pop, but he seemed always ready and willing to serve his fans another helping of the early stuff. The Peaceful Tour was Jones' third post-'80s concert album (actually his seventh if you count every distinct edition of Perform '00 and The Peaceful Tour), and it was even more of a nostalgia compilation than the others. Containing only two songs written after 1989 ("Collective Heartbeat" and "Let the People Have Their Say"), this 2002 live set was an attempt to dress the old hits in the state-of-the-art musical technology used by 21st century electronica artists. Does it work? Well, the 46-year-old singer has lost some of his stratospheric range and some of the new arrangements suffer from the self-indulgently busy excesses that used to plague most 12" remixes. But the collection proves once again that Jones' indelible hooks can hold their own in just about any musical setting mankind can devise. Hardcore industrial thrash, ambient noodling, reggae, salsa, gospel — Jones leaves no stylistic stone unturned, but tunes like "New Song," "What Is Love," and "Like to Get to Know You Well" remain as irresistibly catchy as ever. These are songs that could sell records in any era. Audiences can hardly be blamed for loving the early stuff.


Born: 23 February 1955 in Southampton, England

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Howard Jones was one of the defining figures of mid-'80s synth pop. Jones' music merged the technology-intensive sound of new wave with the cheery optimism of hippies and late-'60s pop. Jones racked up a string of hits in the mid- and late '80s before he retreated into being a cult figure in the '90s. A native of Southampton, England, Jones learned how to play piano at the age of seven. By the time he was a teenager, his family had relocated to Canada, which is where he joined his first band, a...
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The Peaceful Tour, Howard Jones
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