Two years can be an eternity when the anticipation is so great waiting for the incredibly talented Joe Jackson and band to make a rare Cardiff appearance and It certainly proved well worth the frustrating wait.
Quite simply it was a jaw-dropping performance by The Man, who mesmerised a good sized crowd with songs both old and new in a quite stunning set, played at the highest level. accompanied by his talented band of musicians, one of whom, bassist Graham Maby, has been a stalwart alongside Jackson for most of his considerable career.
It was a rather Beatlesque intro reminiscent to the opening of Sgt Pepper’s with a tune-up/tuneless opening breaking swiftly into ‘One More Time’ from Jackson’s 1979 debut album Look Sharp, followed by the excellent ‘Big Black Cloud’ from his last recording Fool, a lost gem of an album.
New-ish songs like ‘Fabulously Absolute’ and ‘Dave’ slotted in effortlessly amongst the big Jackson hits with a deliciously acapella version of ‘Is She Going Out With Him’ (with just the bass for accompaniment) and ‘Different For Girls’.
There was a break mid-set with Jackson alone at the keyboard. Jackson said that he gets to play one cover song from a band or artist that influenced him during a set and this time it was Joni Mitchell’s ‘Big Yellow Taxi’, played in the style of a New Orleans pianist much like his hero’s Dr John and Professor Longhair.
It was becoming a superlative evening with driving high-tempo versions of ‘Sunday Papers’, ‘I’m The Man’ and a curiously stylish ‘Steppin Out’ and frantic ‘Fool’
Whilst there was no doubting who the boss was, there’s no denying that the powerful and incredibly talented band that is Ted Kumpel, guitar, Doug Yowell, drums, and the aforementioned Graham Maby, bass, certainly played their part in an evening to remember for a long while…until the next time’
Images: Tony Woolway