Eight months after he cancelled a planned UAE trip due to a family emergency, Sir Tom Jones has decided he’s going come back roaring, this time to the Emirates Airline Dubai Jazz Festival on February 22 at the Dubai Media City Amphitheatre. The Welsh music icon will open the 15th year of the annual music event, which will also feature Mariah Carey on February 23 and Enrique Iglesias on February 24.
Jones cancelled his scheduled Abu Dhabi concert on April 15 “due to serious illness in his immediate family,” organisers said. The announcement followed another cancelled April 2 concert in Manila.
It turned out the singer had gone to be with his wife, Melinda Rose Woodward, who died on April 11 after what Jones’ publicist called “a short but fierce battle with cancer”. Woodward was 75. Jones and her had been married for 59 years,
Jones made his first public appearance two months later at a music festival in the UK where he termed his loss “devastating” and broke down.
The 76-year-old said recovering from the death of his wife was “the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life”.
“I was in the Philippines, that was when I got the call, that it was terminal. I had to stop. So I flew back to Los Angeles and she had a week left, in the hospital,” The Telegraph reported.
He also revealed that on her deathbed, Woodward told him to carry on with a planned European tour, insisting, “Just go forward”.
“I have to do it. When Linda passed away it hit me so hard I didn’t know whether I could or not, I really didn’t. I said, ‘Linda I don’t know what I’m going to do.’ She could see I was devastated, and I was. She said ‘Don’t worry, you’ll be alright. Don’t worry about it.”
Jones returned to the stage in June.
He posted a message on Facebook, explaining his comeback.
“Music is so important to me — it’s my life and through the brightest and darkest of times it has embedded a soundtrack to all my memories,” he posted. “I came to the conclusion that singing really is my best therapy. It means a huge amount to be able to continue to perform for such a loyal and giving audience; your support has been uplifting and doesn’t go unnoticed. See you all at the shows this summer.”
With a successful career that spans over five decades, the singer is a well-loved icon who continues to have a vital recording and performing career to this day. With energetic shows that traverse eras and genres, his performances appeal to music fans of all ages. He has sold over 100 million records and, although he is well known for hits including It’s Not Unusual, Kiss, Delilah, What’s New Pussycat, Green, Green Grass of Home, I’ll Never Fall in Love Again, and If I Only Knew, he is first and foremost an artist with true rhythm and blues soul.
He has also garnered positive reviews for his most recent albums Long Lost Suitcase (recorded in collaboration with producer and multi-instrumentalist, Ethan Johns), Spirit in The Room and Praise & Blame.
Jones was knighted by the Queen of England in 2006, an honour he deeply cherishes and was able to celebrate once again in 2012 when he performed at the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee concert at Buckingham Palace.
Last year, he returned to his role as coach on the fourth series of The Voice UK, working alongside will.i.am, Rita Ora and Ricky Wilson. In February, he received a special invitation to perform at the 25th Anniversary of MusiCares Person of The Year tribute honouring Bob Dylan, alongside musical luminaries Bruce Springsteen, Beck, Jack White, Bonnie Raitt, Willie Nelson and many more. The following evening, he sang a duet with Jessie J at the 57th Annual Grammy Awards. Other highlights of his long career include receiving a Brit Award for Best Male and Outstanding Contribution to Music, a Silver Clef Award for Lifetime Achievement, the Hitmaker Award from the [US] Songwriters Hall of Fame, GQ Man of The Year, and the prestigious Music Industry Trust Award in the UK.
“With a line-up that features heavyweights such as Sir Tom Jones, Mariah Carey and Enrique Iglesias coming together to celebrate our 15th anniversary, we hope to establish the UAE and the Dubai Jazz Festival as important destinations for outstanding live events,” said Anthony Younes, CEO of Chillout Productions, organisers of the Dubai Jazz Festival. “At the heart of this mission is of course our goal to provide memorable and unique experiences for music fans all over the world.”
Don’t miss it!
Tickets to Tom Jones’ concert at the Emirates Airline Dubai Jazz Festival start at Dh395 and are available on ticketmaster.ae from midday, December 13. For more on the event, go to dubaijazzfest.com.