Written by Jim Bille
Joe Jackson – May 29, 2019
Joe Jackson is winding down his Four Decade Tour in the U.S. and Houston was one of the few stops left before heading overseas. Jacksons venue of choice for this stop in Houston was at one of the best in town – Cullen Auditorium at The Wortham Center. I’ve never actually seen a concert at the Wortham Center but I can attest that this is hands down one of the most acoustically perfect places I’ve ever been and an ideal setting to hear a Joe Jackson performance.
The Four Decade Tour not only includes music from Joe Jackson’s previous releases but also serves as a musical vehicle for Jackson to introduce fans to recent works from his newest album, Fool.
The first number featured, “Alchemy”, was a new composition with a slow rhythmic tempo that featured Jackson hypnotically crooning along to the mysterious sounding melody.
“One More Time” from Jackson’s debut album, Look Sharp, was next up. Jackson’s delivery on this number was as good as it as it was in 1979 when the song was first released and immediately cranked the show up a few notches as the audience responded raucously to the first of many Jackson classics to follow.
Speaking of classic numbers, the next two, “Is She Really Going Out With Him” and “Another World” tipped the scales of coolness when it comes to Joe Jackson’s musical catalog.
Jackson’s touring band is an incredible three piece ensemble that includes Teddy Krumpel on guitar, Doug Yowell on drums and Jackson band long time veteran Graham Maby on bass. Each musician mastered their musical environment with polish and precision giving Jackson a solid foundation to weave his often complex melodies around.
Jackson himself appeared to be enjoying the performance as he was both charming and gregarious throughout the evening joking around with the band as he would be setting up the numbers on the shows play list.
Jackson paid homage to a couple of artists he says were influential on his early career. Steely Dan’s “King of the World” and the Beatles “Rain” were featured during the show with a Joe Jackson twist. Jackson took a few extra liberties with “Rain” as his arrangement had a slightly different tempo with interesting and effective results none the less, especially with the chorus line of the song.
As the first encore song of the evening, “Steppin Out” is one of Jackson’s most recognized compositions. Jackson explained that when the song was originally recorded he actually played all of the instruments so performing it live, in his opinion, never really captured how the song was originally recorded. For this tour he has attempted to recreate the original arrangement by adding additional keyboards played by Teddy Krumpel accompanied by Graham Maby on xylophone. Jackson even brought along the original vintage Korg KR55 electronic drum machine used on the record. The results you may ask…..were just as amazing as the rest of the show.
- One More Time
- Is She Really Going Out With Him
- Another World
- Fabulously Absolute
- Strange Land
- Stranger Than Fiction
- My House
- Real Men
- Invisible Man
- It’s Different for Girls
- Sunday Papers
- King of the World
- You Can’T Get What You Want (Till You Know What You Want)
- Ode to Joy
- I’m the Man
- Steppin Out
- Got the Time
- Alchemy (reprise)