PHOTO: DOT HOPKINS
Back2Back is back on the road this month, bringing audiences a series of shows that will showcase two classic Beatles albums, Abbey Road and Sgt Pepper’s. The production features the vocals of four amazing artists, Russell Morris, Jack Jones, Kav Temperley and U.K. artist, Jon Allen, backed by fifteen incredibly talented musicians. These two albums were never performed live by The Beatles in their time but Back2Back will present both albums, track by track.
“I’m very excited about it,” Jack Jones tells me over the phone from New York where he lives these days. “There are some great people on the bill. Russell and I have done a few of these shows before. I’m a bit of a veteran because I’ve done most of them. It’s going to be fun. To be able to pay homage to such an amazing band is always something I look forward to. I feel really, really lucky that they’ve asked me back. I know there are a lot of choices out there. There are a lot of other people out there who could get the phone call so when I get asked to do them, I always get blown away and I love working with these guys. The producers of these shows are incredible and we’ve become really good friends over the years so it’s nice and I get to meet other singers as well. I get to sing the same songs sometimes but at times I get different songs. There’s always something new and I think that singing with those guys is going to be a lot of fun too. It’s a show that never gets tired, It’s’ always kind of new and fresh and yet, there’s no big surprises.”
And while Jack might be a veteran of these shows, he is quick to point out that he never gets complacent. “I’m always thinking about the songs and how well we all sound together and there’s always something new, working with these ensembles and I never take it for granted.”
Asked if he has a favourite Beatles song to sing, he responds “There are so many great Beatles songs and so many different eras but I actually think one of the greatest lines ever written is ‘and in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.’ It’s just such a beautiful thing. And then there’s ‘I Am the Walrus’. It’s a very difficult question for me because I love the simplicity of some of The Beatles songs and then I love the complexity of the way their whole craft evolved over such a short period of time. I don’t actually have a favourite Beatles song,” though he does admit to a fondness for ‘Blackbird and ‘A Day in the Life.
Jack says that he is looking forward to working with the band again too. “They are always amazing musicians and the producers of these shows are great guys. They work at a very high level to put it all together and we love that because then we can concentrate on what we do and do our best and those guys manage it. I’m always so surprised when I get the call to do these shows. I just feel so lucky to be able to come and celebrate this great music with such good people. It’s something I always look forward to.” And, of course, returning to Australia also gives Jack the opportunity to spend time with his family here which, he says, is a big part of the joy of doing these tours. “I try to keep the visits fairly regular if I can.”
Based in New York, Jack keeps very busy there. “I’ve had some writing sessions with a couple of friends of mine here. I love being here and by being here, other things just happen. I try to have some creative things going all the time but also keep myself available for other things that pop up. I just did a session with some friends of mine here for an episode of John Oliver’s show that aired recently. We did a song called ‘Don’t Use Our Song’”, he laughed. Those friends included such names as Usher, Sheryl Crow, Cyndi Lauper, Michael Bolton, John Mellencamp and Josh Groban. A friend of Jack’s co-wrote the song, aimed at politicians who were using songs without the endorsement of the artist or songwriter. “That was a lot of fun,” he tells me. “But I’m really looking forward to this tour and to being back in Australia again.”
“I’m racking up the Frequent Flyer points, that’s for sure,” he laughs.
Back2Back kicks off this Saturday, 20th August at the Plenary Theatre in Melbourne. Click here for a full list of venues, dates and to book tickets for Back2Back.
by Sharyn Hamey
Copyright © Sharyn Hamey 2016. All rights reserved