PREVIEW/INTERVIEW Though he may be one of the oldest performers to take the stage at this weekend's Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival, Tom Jones will undoubtedly be one of the best. For more than four decades the Welsh singer's rich vocals and electric stage presence have propelled a career that continues to produce hits even as he is less than a year away from turning 70. As he proved to a full house at the Warfield earlier this year, Sir Tom (he was knighted in 2006 by Queen Elizabeth) still has the goods when it comes time to entertain a crowd, singing old favorites such as "It's Not Unusual," "She's A Lady," and "What's New Pussycat?" along with more recent hits like "Sex Bomb."
Jones pulls in a wide variety of people to his shows, ranging from kids in their early 20s to original fans near his own age. The singer still loves connecting with an audience, be it at a Vegas nightclub or an outdoor festival like Outside Lands.
"If there are people out there and they've come to see me, I'm going to give it the best I can whether it be 5,000 people or 10,000, or 100,000," Jones says.
"I don't change the show from Las Vegas to a festival because I don't do a 'Vegas' act anyway. I don't use any dancing girls it's a concert I'm doing. My show is basically the same, [though] I maybe make sure I cover the stage a little bit more," he laughs.
Jones, who released his latest album 24 Hours (S-Curve) last year, is already gearing up to work on a new record after he completes another tour through the U.K. and Europe. As for the tradition of female fans flinging their undergarments at him while on stage, the man known as "the Voice" looks at it from a couple of different angles. "It depends on what song I'm singing at the time. If I'm singing a serious ballad, it can break the mood," says Jones. "But I don't think it's for an entertainer to dictate to an audience what to do the entertainer does what he or she does, and hopefully the people get it."
TOM JONES At Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival. Fri/28, 6:50 p.m. Golden Gate Park, SF. $89.50$225.50. www.sfoutsidelands.com