tom jones


Queen Elizabeth Theatre – Vancouver

It has been a while since Sir Tom Jones has played in Vancouver, and the pent-up demand made set the scene for a sold-out show at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on Saturday night. Based on the makeup of the audience, the singer, whose career has spanned 6 decades, has a multi-generational fanbase that continues to grow, and remains as popular now as he ever has been.  And there is a reason for this.  The singer continues to bring everything to his shows and is a simply outstanding performer.

To get the audience warmed up, Jones had invited fellow Welsh boys (his words, not mine) Into The Ark on tour with him.  The duo were finalists on The Voice UK, on which Jones is one of the judges. He took an instant liking to them on the show, something that has developed in friendship since that time.

The duo has a folk vibe to them, that was clearly enjoyed by legions of Jones’ fans, although sadly I missed most of their performance due to a ticketing mix up.

After a short break, and with the house lights dimming the audience went crazy as Sir Tom took to the stage. Early in the show Jones joked about his new hip, and whilst he might not be racing around the stage like he used to, the excitement he caused showed it was clear that the 77-year-old still has amazing sex appeal to the women in the audience (and probably some guys too, but they were vastly out-numbered when it came to the cheering), it was a delight to see and hear, this was going to be a party!!!

Jones opened the show with John Lee Hooker’s Burning Hell, which was accompanied by the first of many splendid video backdrops throughout the night, and immediately showcased the talent of the collection of musicians that are supporting him on the tour. The first few songs of the evening predominately came from Jones album Praise and Blame, which showcases Jones soulful side.  Songs such as Run On, Didn’t it Rain and Did Trouble Me add another dimension to Jones’ more pop oriented numbers.

The show of course was not short on the classics that we would expect to hear. Jones teased the audience with a slow and sultry first verse to his hit Sexbomb, and then let rip for the rest of the song. Not surprisingly, and has become custom over the years at Jones’ shows, this resulted on the first of several panties being tossed onto the stage. This activity came to a peak later in the show when What’s New Pussycat? And It’s Not Unusual were played back to back. By now the security guys really had a struggle on their hands and the audience streamed forward, and there was an ongoing underwear tossing that they were helpless to prevent (I am sure that some of these poor guys would rather be handling relatively peaceful metal fans any day of the week 😊). It was all good natured though and was a fun part of the show.

Into the Ark rejoined Jones on stage for covers of Sittin on the Dock of the Bay and Ring of fire, before we were treated to a Latin tempo version of the singalong favourite Delilah.

In addition to the party element to the show, there were a few stand out moments which really added another dimension to the show.  Jones’ story about learning to dance to impress his wife to be, before playing the wonderful Take My Love, was quite poignant without being overly sentimental.

Other highlights for me included Soul of a Man, which had a dark and brooding intro, and a beautiful rendition of Leonard Cohen’s Tower of Song, both of which were accompanied by stirring video montages.

The main part of the show closed out with a full-on rock treatment of I wish you would, complete with extended solos from guitars and horn section.

Jones then returned to the stage for What a wonderful Life, and Kiss, before closing out with Sister Rosetta Tharpe’s Strange Things Happen Everyday.

Overall it was a classic performance from a consummate artist, and one which I am sure everyone in audience would like to see in Vancouver again sooner rather than later.

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Photos: Stewart Johnstone