A legend returns

A legend returns

Sir Tom Jones is set to perform at UOB Live for his Ages & Stages Tour

A legend returns
(Photos © Live Nation Entertainment)

Legendary Welsh singer Sir Tom Jones will grace the stage at UOB Live on March 14 for his Ages & Stages Tour. Sir Tom is one of Britain's greatest vocal talents and he will embark on an Asian adventure to captivate audiences in Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong and Thailand with his timeless hits and unparalleled performances.

With a career spanning over six decades, Sir Tom has achieved remarkable milestones, solidifying his status as one of the most successful artists in history. Boasting an impressive 100 million records sold, 36 Top 40 hits and multiple Grammy awards, Sir Tom is a living legend in the music industry.

His journey from the mining town of Pontypridd to global stardom is a testament to the enduring power of his voice and the universal appeal of his music.

The Ages & Stages Tour promises to be an enchanting experience, showcasing the full spectrum of Sir Tom's colossal career. From soul-stirring ballads to exhilarating anthems, the concert will be a testament to his distinctive voice and magnetic charisma. Sir Tom, at 83, continues to defy expectations.

Life recently had a chance to conduct an exclusive Q&A interview with the veteran singer via Zoom. We delve into the inner workings of this musical maestro's mind. From the challenges of touring to his timeless connection with diverse audiences, Sir Tom shares insights into his craft and the meticulous curation of his setlist, as well as talk about his latest album, Surrounded By Time, which claimed the No.1 spot on the UK Official Albums Chart.

How are you and how is your health and all the touring so far?

Well, everything is great at the moment. I'm in London in my apartment and getting ready to do the Voice UK. It'll be the blind auditions which happen at the beginning of the show. We do those first, and then I'll rehearse with my band and get ready for the Asia tour.

How much of travelling do you still enjoy, and how do you keep your voice and body in top shape, especially during a rigorous touring schedule? Are there any specific routines or practices you follow?

Yeah, we will. We try to make travelling as easy as possible by having space between shows. So I don't do too many shows back-to-back. I'll do a couple of dates and have a night off. And the worst thing for singers is to get dehydrated so I drink plenty of water -- be careful with the alcohol [laughs]. It's everything in moderation. Also, try not to eat too much delicious food. So you've got to be aware of your voice because it's part of your being. It's different from other musicians. If you play an instrument like a guitar, that is your hands. With voice, you've got to be in good health in order to be able to produce a vocal sound.

(Photo © Live Nation BEC-Tero)

The show in March won't be the first time you performed for fans in Bangkok and Thailand, but each visit there's always a new generation of younger audiences as well. How do you find ways to connect with your audience during concerts?

I get a lot of feedback from social media with the different things out there, so you can get an idea. Now I think more than when I first started in the business. So you have to go to these countries to feel what the audience is really like. You can't really do that just by making records or doing TV shows, which are all important. But to go there live is the most important thing. Then you can gauge what the people think. You have to do a show first in order to get that feedback.

With a career spanning over 60 years and countless hits, how do you curate a setlist for a tour like Ages & Stages? Are there any particular songs you're especially looking forward to performing in Bangkok?

Well, what I do is I keep the big hits that I've had, I mean worldwide hits. I keep them in the show. I change the arrangements slightly, but not completely. But I change them to give a fresh approach to songs. And I feel that when you listen to records that were recorded in the 60s, it's a different sound than what they are now. But when you do things live, I think it's more presentable when you're doing them with the same instrumentation. For instance, What's New Pussycat? is not that different from Kiss. Yes, the songs are different, but they feel the same as they're played with the same people live on stage. And I also tried to put a mixture of things together that I think people will enjoy. I still do Delilah and I still do What's New Pussycat? and Green Green Grass Of Home or songs I think people deserve to hear.

Your 2021 album Surrounded By Time marked a significant achievement, making you the oldest male to claim a No.1 spot on the UK Official Albums Chart with new material. How did the creative process differ for this album, and what does this accomplishment mean to you personally?

Yeah, well, the first thing is when you get a successful album like that, is that it reassures you that you're doing something that people still enjoy. And the difference of recording nowadays is that you've got to be aware of sounds. This album is definitely sounding different to what I would have done 20 years or even 50 years ago. The process is slightly different now. Years ago, I would go into the studio with a big orchestra and we would do everything live. But with the last album, I went in the studio with a rhythm section only. And then things were added afterwards. Though the vocal sound I've always kept the same. I've never, ever used any sort of electrical gimmicks to change the sound of my voice. Thank God that my voice is the same [laughs].

Tom Jones: Ages & Stages Tour in Bangkok will take place at UOB LIVE in Emsphere on Sukhumvit Road, on March 14. Tickets start from 2,800 baht, available via thaiticketmajor.com, call centre 02-262-3838 and TTM Counters at 10am onwards. Visit livenationtero.co.th for more details.

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