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.

Follow Tom Jones at http://www.tomjones.com/

More from Into the Ark at https://intothearkofficial.com/

Photos: Stewart Johnstone

Six years ago, Dane Lloyd and Taylor Jones met at a rugby club charity event which lead to a musical collaboration.  The idea struck to go busking in Australia for the summer and eventually the duo secured work performing at tourist resorts.  The duo credit this boot camp experience — performing for hours, seven days a week for six months, occasionally to ‘challenging’ audiences, as preparing them to become working musicians. Upon returning to Wales the pair used the money they’d earned to self-release an EP which eventually led to them appearing on the The Voice UK.

Although Into The Ark didn’t win the grand prize, within weeks of The Voice ending, the band sold out a UK Tour and were offered several great support slots. The duo spent the summer of ’17 performing at festivals and headlining Velvet Coalmine in their hometown of Blackwood. Into The Ark also spent time on the road with their Voice mentor Tom Jones, not only as a support act, but joining the Welsh superstar during his set to duet on two songs each night.

This summer, Into The Ark are back performing at festivals while also starting work on their debut album. First however, they will be touring North America supporting their mentor-turned-cheerleader Tom Jones beginning May 1st in New York and ending in at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Vancouver on June 2nd.

Ahead of their debut album, the band have announced the release of the Valencia EP which will be available on June 22nd through Blackwood Records.

Recorded earlier this year in Valencia with Dani Castelar (Paolo Nutini/Emeli Sande), Into the Ark released first track ‘No Place Like Home’ from the EP on April 6 – a live favourite – which pays homage to their home of Blackwood in The Valleys of South Wales.

 

Recording the EP at a residential studio in the hills and orange groves above Valencia, was like a dream come true for the duo.

“We’d never spent proper time in a studio before, working with one producer,” says Dane. “The aim was to keep our sound as raw as possible, and that’s what Dani did. A lot of the songs were recorded live, old school, sometimes in one take. We had guests come in to jam, including some Spanish drummers. It was an incredible experience!”

Mastered by Pete Maher (U2/The Killers/Noel Gallagher/Lana Del Rey) and written by Dane and Taylor, the ‘Valencia EP’ is the perfect start to 2018 before they head back into the studio to finish of their debut album –due for release later this year.

The second track ‘Caroline’ which was released on April  27 is a rich soulful track that sours with Taylor’s heartfelt vocals and Dane’s swooning harmonies. This is followed by a track they wrote together whilst busking in their teens ‘Better Than Never At All’ on June 15.

Tour Dates supporting Sir Tom Jones

MAY

1                                      Bardavon Opera House – Poughkeepsie, NEW YORK

2                                      Sands Centre, Bethlehem, PENNSYLVANIA

4                                      Bergen Arts Centre, Englewood, NEW JERSEY

5                                      Foxwoods Casino, Mashantucket, CONNECTICUT

6                                      MGM National Harbor, Oxon, MARYLAND

9                                      Hippodrome, Baltimore, MARYLAND

11                                    Opera House, Detroit, MICHIGAN

12                                    House Of Blues, Chicago, ILLINOIS

13                                    House Of Blues, Chicago, ILLINOIS

16                                    Smart Financial Centre, Sugar Land, TEXAS

17                                    Majestic Theatre, San Antonio, TEXAS

19                                    Paradise Cove, Tulsa, OKLAHOMA

21                                    The Pavilion, Irving, TEXAS

24                                    Greek Theatre, Los Angeles, CALIFORNIA

25                                    Fantasy Springs, Indio, INDIO

26                                    The Bowl, Santa Barbara, CALIFORNIA

29                                    The Masonic, San Francisco, CALIFORNIA

30                                    The Mountain Winery, Saratoga, CALIFORNIA 

JUNE

1                                      Paramount Theatre, Seattle, WASHINGTON, 
2                                      Queen Elizabeth Theatre, BRITISH COLUMBIA, CANADA