Joe Jackson Band One More Good Time with Joe Jackson Band

It’s been 25 years since Joe Jackson and his Band broke through pop music with the wry lyrics and simple arrangement of “Is She Really Going Out With Him?” Having played their last show together in Holland just before Christmas, 1980, the Joe Jackson Band recorded a new album, (Volume 4), earlier this year, and launched a pub tour in England around the same time.

Judging by their performance at the House of Blues on Sunset Boulevard on Thursday night, the Joe Jackson Band (lead vocalist and pianist Jackson, guitarist Gary Sanford, bass player Graham Maby, and drummer Dave Houghton), the reunion is a hit, though Jackson’s greatest commercial success came with his 1982 solo album Night and Day.

As the curtains raised, Jackson appeared in a solo spotlight at his piano, playing and singing his romantic hit, “Steppin’ Out”. It didn’t take long for the band to join Jackson and launch sharp-edged tunes such as “One More Time” and “On Your Radio”.

Short riffs, defiant vocals and buoyant songs were cheered and Jackson’s new songs, ranging from the gentle ballad “Love at First Light” to the rock-tinged “Little Bit Stupid”, which recalls his earlier work, were warmly welcomed by the Generation X audience, estimated at 800. Other highlights included “Real Men”, which he introduced with sarcastic references to “Don Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney and Arnold Schwarzenegger.” Easily, the night’s best presentation was a perfectly pitched “Sunday Papers”, Jackson’s reggae-influenced jab at the media that, since it was released in 1978, has become more relevant with time.

Jackson is both a focused and relaxed performer, alternately teasing the KROQ-raised audience and inviting them into bursts of New Wave energy and displays of 80s’ dance skips. Though he avoided some of the higher notes and he neglected to sing favorite songs from Body and Soul and Laughter and Lust, Jackson’s wit and his band have aged well.

Joe Jackson is a solid entertainer who remains capable of expressing a range of emotions, from caustic anger to falling in love, and he still has no problem filling almost everyone in the room with the urge to get up and dance.

This August 2003 review was published in the Los Angeles Daily News.

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