Often, the music of our youth speaks to us. Sometimes it has specific messages, and sometimes it just reminds us of what it was like when we were young. Sometimes both.
I didn’t do a lot of concerts as a teenager, and I really haven’t done that many as an adult, either, but I enjoy music and I enjoy live music, so there’s really no easy explanation for that, other than possibly budgetary concerns at the times when I’ve felt the desire to go see a particular group or artist live.
But Peterborough does a series of outdoor concerts every year, free to attend, and works to get some significant names to come to them beyond the usual high end tribute bands and lower level professional groups. I only found out about this series of concerts this year, though apparently it’s been a fixture of the Peterborough music scene for several decades.
I found out this year when my wife saw a post for the series on Facebook and sent it to me. Skimming through the list of performers, I was surprised to see Howard Jones there.
I mostly consider myself a Prog Rock kind of guy. Music is to be experienced rather than danced to. But I’m a child of the 80s and some Synth Pop speaks straight to my heart. There are still four of Mr. Jones’ songs in the rotation on my phone in the middle of 2018, and several more I can still sing along to if they come on the radio.
Part of that is probably that his music was often about something. It still is, really. Synth Pop is often very easy for people to dismiss, but Howard Jones shouldn’t be dismissed easily. There’s a lot of depth in his music.
The New Song is about seeing things from more than just your preconceived biases and actually using your mind to figure things out.
Everlasting Love is about looking beyond the surface to see the real person and make a genuine connection.
No One Is To Blame is about how sometimes there’s nothing you can do to make things work out. To paraphrase Captain Picard, sometimes you can do everything right and still lose. It’s not fair, but it’s very human.
Things Can Only Get Better is about keeping a positive attitude when life sucks, which can be a critical survival trait in the modern world.
Your mileage may vary on any of these interpretations, but listen to the lyrics while you’re bouncing along to the song.
So, Howard Jones is playing in Peterborough, for free, and I live an hour and forty minutes (or so) away. What to do?
Well, it seems obvious, but didn’t used to. Road trip. The kids I still have living at home are entirely old enough to take care of themselves for the afternoon and evening, so we did a few chores in the morning (yeah, adulting sucks sometimes) and set out on a leisurely drive to Peterborough.
On the way, we found a couple of geocaches,
Decided we didn’t have enough time to go through a reptile museum, but stopped for a couple of photos,
Watched an engineering marvel lift a tour boat and thousands of litres of water dozens of metres into the air from a spooky tunnel,
Ate delicious, but probably not as healthy as it should be at my age, food,
And bought t-shirts,
Just before watching the concert itself.
Audience participation is a big thing for Mr. Jones, and it was a lot of fun. The man gives good concert, and I’m very glad we went.
Spur of the moment road trips need to work their way into my life a little more often.
Be well, everyone. And do something spontaneous.by