Joe Jackson at the Orpheum Theatre

Iconic British New-Wave artist Joe Jackson kicked off an all new tour Two Rounds of Racket May 26th and following dates across the East Coast and Midwest made his way to the West Coast on June 21st playing Denver, CO followed by Santa Fe, NM, and Phoenix, AZ before coming to Downtown Los Angeles, CA to play the historic Orpheum Theatre.

Although Jackson’s debut album was released in 1979 he had been playing with different bands since the early 70’s. This two hour show was broken into two sets with the first being a career retrospective turning the clock back from present to past. Since Jackson’s debut album Look Sharp!, he has released a total of 21 albums with the most recent being last years What a Racket! which was performed in the second set.

Jackson performing solo on keyboard started the first set with “Dave” from his 2019 release Fool and took us from the the 2010’s through the 90’s 80’s and “On Your Radio” from his second album I’m the Man released in 1979. Half way through Jackson began playing a song and mentioned the recognizable bass line and it was one of his biggest hits “Steppin’ Out” from his 1982 album Night and Day. Following songs from his own catalog, he wanted to go back even further to 60’s and as Jackson said he wasn’t making music as a child but wanted to play a song of that era which was The Kinks’ “Waterloo Sunset.” J

ackson went back even further to “Hello! Hello! Who’s Your Lady Friend?” a  popular marching song from 1913 during World War I. To close out the first set, Jackson took the audience one more century back with “My Old Dutch” from 1892 by Albert Chevalier, but only a part of the song. Jackson began talking about the next half of the show, the Max Champion set as the stage was being prepped for his band. Jackson left the stage for a wardrobe change.

Jackson joined his band onstage to perform as fictional character Max Champion. The album featured a 12-piece orchestra and onstage Jackson had nine consisting of drums, piano, violin, trumpet, flute, trombone, clarinet, upright bass to fit the time period. Jackson transported the audience back to the East Side of London, England over a century ago. Champion’s backstory is that he was born in 1882 and was killed in World War I and his songs would resurface 100 years later.

Jackson and his band were dressed as musicians of that era would be wearing and Jackson wore a top hat. Jackson and his band performed 10 of the 11 songs from the new album but not in order. Before the encore Jackson stated he wanted to combine his music with Champion’s which is what he did for biggest hit “Is She Really Going Out With Him?,” which was followed by the last song off of What a Racket! “Worse Things Happen at Sea.”