English Beat then and the English Beat s Dave Wakeling now
English Beat then and the English Beat s Dave Wakeling now

Package tours remain a great way for fans to see multiple acts they enjoy without having to pay the exorbitant ticket prices it would take to see each act individually.

Take the Retro Futura Tour, a tour that features six New Wave-era acts on the same bill: Howard Jones, The English Beat, Modern English, Men Without Hats, Paul Young and Katrina Leskanich (of Katrina and the Waves). It comes to the Dunkin' Donuts Center in Providence tonight and the Lynn Auditorium in Lynn on Tuesday, Aug. 14.

The layout of the tour gives each act time for their biggest hits, so expect to hear "Walking on Sunshine" from Katrina, "Safety Dance" and "Pop Goes the World" from Men Without Hats, and "I Melt With You" by Modern English.

Howard Jones then and now. SIMON FOWLER/HOWARDJONES. COM
Howard Jones then and now. SIMON FOWLER/HOWARDJONES. COM

Howard Jones is the headliner, so he gets time for more of his hits, including "The Prisoner," "You Know I Love You, Don't You?" "No One is to Blame," "Everlasting Love," "Life in One Day," "What is Love?" "New Song" and "Things Can Only Get Better." Yes, he had a lot of hits, and he's a great guy, to boot.

And then there's Paul Young. He's not the headliner on this tour, but he also hasn't played the United States in close to three decades since his heyday on the pop-music charts in the late 1980s, so when they offered me the chance to speak with him, I jumped on Skype and called him as soon as he was available.


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The 61-year-old Young has been an enduring presence on the British music scene, but he pretty much disappeared from the American scene after a series of singles hits in the 1980s and early '90s that included 1983's "Come Back and Stay," 1985's "Everytime You Go Away" and "I'm Gonna Tear Your Playhouse Down," 1990's "Oh Girl" and 1992's "What Becomes of the Brokenhearted."

Young is excited to be on the Retro Futura Tour, which started in mid-July and runs through mid-August. "It looks like a lot of fun," he said in an interview before the tour started. "A lot of hard work, but a lot of fun."

He's a big fan of Jones and has toured with him.

"I really enjoy his show. I saw his show at the O2 (Arena in London) a few years ago.

Modern English then and now
Modern English then and now
For someone known to be a keyboard player, he really is a good performer. I didn't see him much in the '80s. We were all too busy working to see the other artists, but I was really surprised how good of a performer he is and how involved he is with the audience."

He's also fond of Leskanich. "She's a true rock 'n' roll girl. I've spent quite a few nights with her in hotel bars over the years. She's got a great sense of humor."

He never toured with Men Without Hats or Modern English and said he's surprised he never did any festivals with English Beat, but he's looking forward to touring with all of them.

"I love it. It's the sort of thing they used to do with the Rolling Stones, Chuck Berry and Chubby Checker.

It's quite healthy to get back to that. It's a good ticket, and it's great fun for us. We get to do our little bit and see everybody else."

Head back to the future this week.