Stranded’s Awesome: The Presence of Other

I feel bad as there are two of these I want to do this week…but have to pick one and next week’s will become more of a review of the new Johnny English film.

This week, however, three days after this posts (I am writing this almost a week ahead, so forgive if my math is messy) on October 25, I will be seeing an old friend perform live for the fourth time.

I first saw Howard Jones perform at The Kingswood Theatre in Vaughan, Ontario at a local amusement park.  I cannot say I recall who was with me…I want to say my brother, but not completely certain.  It was pouring rain and we were lucky not to be out sitting on the grass for this show.  I believe it was the summer of 1988, but even that is a bit foggy…hard to believe that was 22 years ago.

In fact, I can go back further…Howard Jones’ “Dream Into Action” was the second cassette tape I ever purchased for my WalkMan…remember those?  That would have been 1984 and I nearly wore the tape out on the ten hour Greyhound bus ride from Creston, BC to Calgary on Boxing Day that year for my annual New Years get together with my best friend.

The second time I saw Howard perform was part of his Live Acoustic America tour in the summer of 1995.  Saw Howard and a percussionist, Carol Steele, perform at Lee’s Palace in downtown Toronto.  Fantastic show…and the first show I had been to where not only was beer intake allowed, but encouraged.  I was a happy man, that night.

The most recent time was in 2006 at the Oakville Centre for the Performing Arts…same place I will see him again next week, actually.  Again a fantastic acoustic show, but this time he was joined by guitar player Robin Boult.  Amazing show, really, when one thinks that those two would have been suffering through jet lag.  The fact that I already knew many of Howard’s between song stories made it like revisiting a friend I had not seen in years.

Next week’s show…we have third row seats.  This will be the first time I have seen him do a “plugged in” show since 1988.  Considering the type and size of the venue, who knows, might even get to meet Howard.

However, there is one more bit to this that adds more significance than anything else to this show…my date for the evening will be Aurora, my 12 year old daughter.  She is the same age I was when I first heard the music of one Howard Jones.  Must say that, much as I would enjoy shaking Howard’s hand and thanking him for all the music I have enjoyed of his…I would love to get a picture of him with my daughter…something about completing a loop comes to mind.

I am not a big one on celebs, anyone reading my stuff regularly knows this…but something from a 1992 interview with Howard always stuck with me.  Everything he has ever released always is so filled with upbeat songs…not sure there are many others who could say that.  As the man once sang…things can only get better.

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