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Review: Howard Jones in Concert at Epcot Orlando

As part of their International Food and Wine Festival, those folks from Disney hosted Howard Jones in concert at the Epcot Center last night.

Through a bizarre set of connections, all to do with social media, I got wind he was playing. As I was in Orlando for the ANA Masters of Marketing and a HUGE fan, I duly coughed up the $80 odd entrance fee, bought a bud and plonked myself near the front of their outside theatre.

Howard would play three sets of 30 minutes between 5.15pm (I thought that’s when pop stars got out of bed!) and 7.45pm.

On Twitter he had promised “Hits Baby, Hits!” and we weren’t disappointed.

My earliest memory of his music was at school. Way back in 1984, albums like Human Lib and then Dream into Action were the ones that got the most scratches because they were played so much on our common room record player – yes I can remember vinyl!


I guess his popularity was about the great songs, the fact he was solo with banks of synths and drum machines to accompany him which all us boys (I’d have been about 12 then!) found super-cool, but for me it was his vulnerability and positivity that shined through.

He obviously thought about what he was writing, wrote from personal experience and didn’t particularly care who thought he was cool or not. It was all about the music!P1040741

He was an ordinary guy from High Wycombe who wrote about life and love in a more approachable way than many of the songwriters of his generation.

After the second set I overheard a guy telling a friend he’d left his wife in the mid-80s and went back to her after listening to one of Howard’s songs…..and they’re still married.

Coupling those lyrics with great melodies made those two albums sell millions and helped make him an international star.

Everyone I asked in the US knew who he was!


Anyway the gigs obviously took a bit of time to get going, in that the 1st was in the early evening and the crowd hadn’t quite warmed up.

Kicking off with Pearl in the Shell, a heart-stopping moment came at the start of the second song when his pedals malfunctioned. A low battery was blamed and Howard laughed it off as a techy was getting fixed saying, “I’ve been beset with technological problems the whole of my career!”


But that’s the thing, he didn’t have a paddy, got it fixed and carried on, winning over the crowd even more as he stormed through the night with hit after hit – No One is to Blame, Everlasting Love, Conditioning, Like to Get to Know You Well, What is Love, Things Can Only Get Better and New Song.

Guessing there’d be some die-hards in the audience that’d come to all three sets – we had to leave the theatre and queue up again to get in! – he mixed up the running order and had new surprises in each one.


With a back catalogue like his, 30 minutes isn’t really enough to do history justice and the glaring omission was by far my favourite song – Hide and Seek – the song he sang at Live Aid.

Guess I’ll have to wait until 6th of November when he’s performing Human Lib and Dream into Action in their entirety at London’s O2.

It’s set to be a very special night, and if anyone’s in any doubt whether he’s up to the job, last night’s note/pitch perfect performance showed HoJo’s got it more than ever!

X-Factor wannabes – if Howard Jones ever learns how to bottle his talent, you’d better be first in line when he sets up his stall, or come on the 6th, soak it all up, listen and learn!

Enjoy the slideshow above!


New Windows Phone TV Ads from Microsoft plus Stephen Fry

New from the US, these Windows Phone ads really sum up how my wife feels about me and my device.

Here’s hoping I can start living my life again…..

BTW – I was at the launch of the phone 7 on Monday.

As Ashley Highfield said on stage, it was “high risk” having Stephen Fry show up, but it seems to have done wonders to draw attention to the wider smartphone/tech ecosystem, especially as Stephen’s all about “biodiversity” in the technology space.

Listen to this excellent Guardian Tech podcast from the event by Jemima Kiss and Charles Arthur

And he most definitely didn’t get paid!!!

Here’s a link to my photos from the front row of the Windows Phone Launch and my fave below:


Advertising Week 2010 Video & Links

Really proud of the team this year!

Awesome job on the ground and Cherry, our video crew were amazing!

Here are some links to all the great content we created!

Navigating the Future of Digital Marketing Video–Advertising Week 2010

Stephen Kim on Digital Creativity at Advertising Week 2010

Blake Mycoskie from TOMS Shoes interviewed at Ad Week 2010

Video: Interview – Charles Johnson on Microsoft Mobile Advertising & Windows Phone 7

Doing Deals with Devil: AOL’s Content Play at AdWeek 2010

Kinectimals Demo for Xbox 360 at Advertising Week

AdWeek 2010: Defining Value and Driving Conversations on the Facebook Frontier

Navigating the Future of Digital Marketing at Advertising Week 2010

The Power of Positive Impact: 10 Billion Impressions, 0 Media Budget – AdWeek 2010

Doug Sweeney, Levi’s VP of Brand Marketing: Revitalizing Levi’s Brand and Rebuilding America – AdWeek 2010

Consumer Adoption of New Technologies and What it Means for Marketers – Advertising Week

Video: Interview with Carolyn Everson at Advertising Week 2010

Video: Interview with Rik Van Der Kooi at Ad Week 2010

Video: Kinect for Xbox 360 Demo at Advertising Week 2010

AdWeek 2010: Attracting Generation Luxur-Y

Have You Checked in Yet? OMMA Panel on the Future Fortunes of Mobile Location-Based Services at Ad Week

D. Costolo, Twitter COO: Brands, Monetization and Why Twitter Isn’t Competing with Facebook – AdWeek 2010

Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO: The Web is Being Rebuilt and Marketing is Part of the Solution

Video: Talking Kinect and Me TV with Mark Kroese at AdWeek 2010

David Moore, IAB MIXX 2010 at AdWeek: Online Has Arrived and It Is Unstoppable

Designing an Agency for the Digital Age – Part 2 at Advertising Week 2010

Video Highlights from Day 1 at Advertising Week

Carat Research: It’s A New (Digital) World for Shoppers – AdWeek 2010

Designing an Agency for the Digital Age – Part 1 at Advertising Week 2010

Video Interview with Darren Huston at Advertising Week 2010

Brand-building Jedis: Influence Beyond the Q Score at AdWeek 2010

Digital Affluencers: When to Wrestle With the Pig at AdWeek 2010

Our Advertising Week 2010 Kick Off Video

TV for Me at IAB MIXX 2010 at AdWeek NYC 2010

Seth Godin Opens IAB MIXX 2010 at AdWeek in NYC

Beyond the Banner at Ad Week 2010 with Microsoft Advertising

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