Tom leaves hits at home for Latitude opener
INTERNATIONAL superstar Tom Jones wowed the crowds at Latitude Festival last night as he took to a stage in the woods where he performed songs from his new album.
About 5,000 revellers watched the Welsh legend strut his stuff, but there were reports that many had been left disappointed after officials stopped access to the venue after it reached its capacity.
Some festival-goers had waited several hours to see the star whose appearance at midnight was delayed by about 20 minutes due to technical difficulties.
But once on stage Sir Tom got the crowd going, his famously resonant voice drifting through the trees, and fans of all ages started clapping and cheering.
Wearing a purple jacket, his white hair glistened in the coloured lights.
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Sir Tom was performing songs from his new album Praise & Blame which are from a repertoire that includes American traditional, gospel and country.
The songs see him return to his roots to create a truly evocative musical work aided by producer/musician Ethan Johns, who joined him on stage.
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Sir Tom kicked off the night with What Good Am I, a bluesy song which perfectly suited his gravelly voice.
This was followed by the more upbeat Lord Help The Poor & Needy, which got the crowd moving.
Later came a John Lee Hooker song, Burning Hell, which again showcased Sir Tom’s fantastic voice, and was cheered by an appreciative audience.
Throughout the hour-long set Sir Tom’s status as a heart-throb was not in doubt, with a number of women hurling their knickers on to the stage.
At one point he shouted “I love you too!” as underwear was flung in his direction.
Sir Tom’s new songs are a sombre contrast to the hi-jinks of his earlier hits, and at times it felt as if the audience was not quite sure what to make of the transformation.
There were cries for Sex Bomb, Sir Tom’s hit from 1999, but he did not play any of his old favourites.
Some of his new material is sombre, contemplative, while other songs are fiery, blues-drenched or tinged with rock n roll.
There is a spiritual awareness that has perhaps come as the singer, now in his 70th year, reflects on his life.
It seems Sir Tom has given up the gimmicks and gone back to singing his heart out to the sort of music he really likes.
And for those who were disappointed at missing out it was announced at the end of the set that Sir Tom will be performing again on Sunday on the main obelisk stage at midday.