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Joe Jackson At City Center, Saturday, February 16th, 2019, Reviewed

 

Joe Jackson has an interesting and diverse career. He started in the late 70s as part of the British New Wave movement, with a similar sound to Elvis Costello and Graham Parker. His song writing was always a strength, substituting wry humor for the anger of much of that generation. His debut Look Sharp is would make my list of best debut albums.

In the early 80s he made an abrupt change in style, substituting Jazz and Latin-influenced sounds, starting with the guitarless Night and Day. Since then he has continued to defy genres, but with his keyboard usually the featured instrument.

Jackson’s latest tour is being billed as the Four Decades Tour. He decided to focus on one album from the 70s, 80s, 90s, and 00s, as well as material from his new collection Fool (as in jester, not idiot). His band includes long-time bassist Graham Maby, Teddy Kumpel on guitar and the excellent Doug Yowell on drums.

The set this band played to a packed City Center on the 16th was excellent. He started with a snippet of “Alchemy” the moody ballad that closes the new one, then segued into a rocking “One More Time” and “Is She Really Going Out With Him” from Look Sharp. As the music veered from punk rock to Latin to jazz ballads, there was no drop off in the high level of musicianship. And though I was not as familiar with some of the material, there was no drop off in my interest. One particular surprise was a cover of the Beatles’ “Rain”, in the midst of songs from the album with that title. It was borrowed because the album had no title track.

He finally broke with the evening’s theme toward the end of the show, including a fun cover of Steely Dan’s “King of the World” and “You Can’t Get What You Want” from the non-featured Body and Soul. The latter gave Kumpel a chance to shine.

To close the show, the band returned to Alchemy, complete with red mood lighting, as the band walked off one by one, with the music continuing thanks to effects pedals. All in all, a very satisfying evening.

1. Alchemy
(snippet)
2. One More Time
3. Is She Really Going Out With Him?
4. Another World

5. Fabulously Absolute
6. Dave
7. Breaking Us in Two
8. Stranger Than Fiction
9. Drowning
10. Cancer

11Citizen Sane
12Rain
(The Beatles cover)
13Invisible Man
14Strange Land

15Fool
16Sunday Papers

17King of the World
(Steely Dan cover)
18 You Can’t Get What You Want (Till You Know What You Want)

19Ode to Joy

20 ‘Im The Man

Encore:
21Steppin’ Out

22Got the Time
23 Alchemy
(reprise)

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