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The Hitmakers Tour

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Toyah Wilcox, Martin Fry and ABC, and Howard Jones in an 80s hit spectacular.

This is a review of the Eastbourne gig from the Hitmakers Tour.

I sat out the Toyah intro section as I've never been a fan. I could make out her doing capable covers of Sweet Child of mine and She Sells Sanctuary - it sounded fine, but not great enough to get me out of my seat and up the stairs into the auditorium.
The gig was badly undersold., maybe 500 of the 1600 seats were filled. I can surely blame this on poor promotion. At a restaurant before the show I ran into an old friend, who though local had heard nothing about the gig - he would have come if he had known.

I had gone to see Howard Jones and he did not disappoint. There was just the right balance of familiar sounds in the mix from the hits, along with a rock steady hard hitting rhythm section as powerful as any contemporary live show I have seen recently. The rig was interesting, lots of keyboards on stage as you might imagine, an electronic drummer playing pads standing up, the same trusty guitarist who's been around for many years and Robbie the mix wizard triggering samples and doing live fx on Howard's vocals etc. Howard did a great job of getting the (small) crowd going - after 2 songs a couple of girls got out of their seats and started dancing...moments later the whole audience was up and stayed there until the end of his set.

Highlights? Pearl In The Shell as an amazing show opener, my personal favourite, and the sublime ballad No-one Is To Blame featuring Howard alone at the piano. Strangely, Things Can Only Get Better' was MIA. I did not stay for ABC.

echobass , 30/11/06

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