Adam Checks in on the Retro Futura Tour With Tom Bailey and Howard Jones



Retro Futura Tom Bailey2

by: Adam Glass

It was like 1984 all over again at the Wilbur Theater on Sunday night as some of the biggest names of the 80’s came out to play in what was a fun foray into the past. The first three acts had short five song sets which were solid but it was Howard Jones and Thompson Twins’ Tom Bailey who stole the show and rightfully so.



The evening started out with Katrina (ex-Katrina and the Waves) with a short Rock N’ Roll set that included some of the better known songs from her first two albums such as “Red Wine and Whisky” and “Do You Want Crying” but it wasn’t until she played the global super smash “Walking On Sunshine” that the crowd started getting into it. Let’s face it, everyone was there to hear the big hits and were not going to settle for anything less.

Retro Futura China Crisis

China Crisis

That’s probably the reason the next act China Crisis did not fare so well with the crowd. China Crisis was not very well known here in the States but had enough name recognition to make the tour. Probably the most laid back of all the acts they sounded tight and mellow playing such songs as “Arizona Sky” and again they had the crowd dancing for “King in a Catholic Style” their probably best known song. Sounding like a cross between ABC and Spandau Ballet, they were great in getting everybody in that 80’s pop mood.

Midge Ure

Midge Ure

Ultravox lead singer Midge Ure was up next and tore the house down with a blistering rock set that included the Visage tune “Fade to Grey” as well as Ultravox mainstays “Hymn”, “Vienna” and “Dancing With Tears In My Eyes”.  Ure is still a solid performer with an incredible voice that is still so strong after all these years. Five songs did not do him justice as he deserved to be up there longer.

Retro Futura Howard Jones

Howard Jones

After a short break the stage was ripped apart to be laid bare with just  an electronic drum set and two sets of keyboards and computer equipment set up along with a large video screen. The audience knew they were in for a treat. The lights went down and the electronica of “The Human Touch” started and as Howard Jones came out to thunderous applause with his Keytar in hand,  he immediately moved into his hits with “Like to Get to Know You Well” and dance along version of “Everlasting Love”.  Jones knows how to get the crowd moving and move they did.

What is a concert without a sing-a-long? Jones let the audience sing a good portion of his hit “No One Is To Blame” and by now everyone all the way up to the third balcony was swaying. HoJo rounded out his set with hits such as “The Prisoner”,  “What Is Love” and “Things Can Only Get Better”, the latter was updated with a real heavy techno ending.  To end his set, Jones led another sing-a-long to one of his first top ten hits “New Song”.

How could anyone top this set??? Especially someone who hasn’t played live in 27 years…..

Retro Futura Tom Bailey

Ex Thompson Twin Tom Bailey

Well, top it Thompson Twin Tom Bailey did. Again, the stage laid bare but for just two synth stations and a drum set.  As the lights went down you could hear accordion entrance music and if you were at all familiar with Thompson Twins you knew it was “We Are Detective”. The all-female band (known as The Sisters of Mercy) took the stage and soon Tom was front and center raising his hands in the air to the electronic chords of “In The Name of Love”. Right off the bat the crowd at The Wilbur was dancing and kept doing so through hit and hit. Songs such as “Lies”, “You Take Me Up” and “Love on Your Side” were instantly recognizable even though they had been updated to sound more modern. Even slower songs such as “Sister of Mercy” and “If You Were Here” (the latter being updated with new verses) had the crowd moving. Bailey rounded out his set with Thompson Twins megahits “Doctor Doctor”, “King For a Day” and “Hold Me Now” which ended up being the ultimate sing-a-long of the night. Let’s hope this isn’t a one off tour for Mr. Bailey. He needs to come back and do a proper show longer than just nine songs. One thing is for certain. For one night there was no doubt that Tom Bailey was back after all these years and back in a big way.

Photos Courtesy of The Wilbur Theater