Whether you’re born and bred in Utah or you’ve found yourself here by happy accident, there’s one thing that all Utahns know: Howard Jones is a big deal here. No one really seems to know why. Maybe it’s due to his music being largely positive and happy—something the predominate religion in the state finds a kinship with. Perhaps it’s because it was the soundtrack to Generation X’s youth—who didn’t slow dance with their sweetheart to “No One Is To Blame” in junior high, anyway? Or perhaps it’s because all of his songs are relentlessly and almost annoyingly optimistic—“Things will only get better,” for example.
You don’t know that, Howard, OK? But you do seem to have struck a chord with Utah’s cheerfulness with your tunes.
Last year, Jones played Red Butte with the fantastic OMD and the less-than-fantastic Barenaked Ladies and he stole the show. This year he’s back at Red Butte and he’s bringing some New Wave friends with him—The English Beat (fun fact: In England, they’re just The Beat) and Men Without Hats. That’s right. “The Safety Dance” is coming to an outdoor ampitheater near you.
I’ll be honest—I’m a little young to be a New Wave fan (I love being able to call myself young, though)—and I’m going to this show only for Howard Jones. He stole my heart last year as soon as he burst onto the stage with a key-tar—and I dare say, it just might be an “Everlasting Love.”
I guess that makes me a real Utahn after all.
Retrofutura tour (Howard Jones, The English Beat and Men Without Hats) plays Red Butte Sunday July 23. Tickets are sold out. Doors at 6, show at 7.