Paradiso was filled to the brim. Clad in my now supertight t-shirt from spring 1984's 'Body and Soul' tour I went to see Joe Jackson, for sure, for the third time. In my mind there is a show at De Doelen in Rotterdam, but can't find any recollection of it in there. Joe Jackson played there in the winter of 1983, so this might just have been my fourth show in the 40 year anniversary of 'Look Sharp''s release. For sure there is Ahoy in 1984 and the Pepsi Stage in 2003.
Jazz music filled Paradiso, including some tremendous swing. This was Jackson's own choice for sure. Something changed when just a drum started, the stage empty. Lights slowly faded. A man walked on stage, sat himself on his stool and after some ostentatious preparatory movements picked up the beat. Graham Maby, Jackson's career long bass player, picked up his bass and joined. The sound was so clear, so right and above all so groovy. A third man walked on stage, strapped on his guitar and joined. Finally Joe Jackson walked on sat him lanky body behind the keyboards and threw in some piano chords. In a way, if this had been the show, it would already have been perfect. The groove laid down by the band was so fantastic. The ease of playing is phenomenal to view, while everyone ever having tried to master an instrument knows how many hours of practice it takes to attain such a level. All against a red lightning projected on a stage-high draping of curtains.
The slow groove of 'Alchemy', one of the many strong songs on Joe Jackson's latest album 'Fool', proved the start, and close, of a perfect evening. The show was centered around one album from each decade: 'Look Sharp' (1979), 'Night And Day' (1982), 'Laughter And Lust' (1991), 'Rain' (2008) and 'Fool' (2019). From 'Alchemy' we all shot back 40 years in time with the totally energetic 'One More Time'. The angry young Joe still has a role to play. This was as punk as punk came, despite the fact the punk thing was over by that time. The album is full of punk energy that still is easy to feel and undergo in 2019. Fans all around me were singing along like there is no tomorrow for us all.
Quite often on these pages I'm attesting to my, in general, abhorrence of 80s music. I am going to make an exception here for two albums, 'Night & Day' and 'Body & Soul'. I remember hearing 'Cha Cha Loco' for the first time or 'The Verdict' and thinking what is Joe Jackson doing now?, yet noticing how incredibly clear the music sounded. Having digested 'Night & Day' by then. These both were defining albums, in sound, in mood, in boldness. If I am singing a Joe Jackson song in the house, it is always 'You Can't Get What You Want, 'Till You Know What You Want'. Another truth as a cow. And, yes, he played it in the closing medley. The start of the medley was the only song that did not really come across fully. The Steely Dan cover worked perfectly on the bonus single that came with the 'Fool' LP, but less on stage. All the other songs were perfect. From the first beats to the last, as the band left the stage in reversed order, again playing 'Alchemy' with the drums moving from real to tape as effortlessly as when picked up at the start.
The only song I missed was 'It's Different For Girls'. If only to see and hear Joe Jackson silencing the audience once more and let Graham Maby play his outro on bass again in utter silence like in 1984. We got 'I'm The Man' instead, so can live with this miss. What a show! A deep extension of gratitude is due and thus given: Thank you, gentlemen!
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