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Tom Jones live at the House of Blues, San Diego

Tom Jones live at the House of Blues-slide0
Photo: Lauren Wilson

There aren’t too many singers who seemed to transcend the playlists across multiple generations when I was growing up. But for myself, one vocal vibrato resonated with everyone from schoolyard peers, their parents, and beyond. And that voice came from Sir Tom Jones.

On the radar since the early 60s and performing in Las Vegas starting in 1967, Tom Jones has become one of the longest running musical acts of today. A legend in his own right, he’s worked with some of the biggest names in music, and to this day, continues to lend help to artists either behind or in front of the microphone.

His 40th and most recent album, Spirit in the Room, was released in 2012, which features a combination of covers by artists such as Paul McCartney and Paul Simon. After the success and praise gained by his 39th album, Praise and Blame, which has been considered his best album of the past decades, the bar has been raised for what would follow. However much like its predecessor, Spirit in the Room has garnered favorable reviews, with many praising Tom’s unfaltering voice and stripped down covers.

This truly was a show where I didn’t know what to expect. With a 5 piece band set up behind him, including a double bass and an accordion, Jones took center stage atop an ornate rug that was laid out beforehand. His set included a combination of popular covers and his own original tracks, each intertwined to give a fun variety of musical styles. The band provided the backbone for the set, able to switch between the wide range of styles with ease and providing backing vocals throughout the night.

The show opened with “Tower of Song,” a Leonard Cohen cover from his newest album that has gained a lot of attention. The set included a variety of songs, with more covers than not, that spanned through an impressive 2 hours. Though Mr. Jones boasts 73 years, he still has that youthful charisma that made him one of the biggest swooners of all time. Throughout the set, one could catch a glimpse of an undergarment being thrown from someone in the audience. This wasn’t a one time thing however. In fact, when Tom Jones san through one of his biggest hits, “It’s Not Unusual,” a flurry of the bras and panties flew towards the crooner, none of which hit its mark.

Unfortunately, I didn’t see a single soul do “The Carlton” dance at that time.

After a quick rest, everyone returned to the stage for its encore, which started with one of Sir Tom’s most notable covers, “Kiss.” (Prince) A refreshing take to an incredibly famous song, everyone sang along. In fact, not only were people singing, but at this point in the night a good lot of the audience were dancing together, swinging their partners around and just having an incredible amount of fun.

This was a show where anything was possible. People from every generation were there dancing and singing together, underwear was flying across the room throughout the night, and one of the most beautiful voices sang out to us all, sounding as new and bright as it always had.