Fans turned away from midnight gig in the woods

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The 2010 [b]Latitude Festival[/b] got off to a chaotic start last night (July 15) as [b]Tom Jones[/b]’ intimate gig in the woods drew a crowd of thousands, causing the area to be closed and large numbers of fans to be turned away.

[b]Jones[/b] was showcasing his new album of blues and gospel songs, [b]’Praise And Blame'[/b], though many fans were clearly expecting a hits set, singing [b]’It’s Not Unusual'[/b] and [b]’What’s New Pussycat?'[/b] while waiting for the singer to arrive.

Such was the demand to see the singer, who played on the eve of the main musical entertainment kicking off, hundreds were unable to get near the stage, with many stuck on the bridge that provided access to the woodland arenas.

Taking the stage half an hour late at 12.30am (BST), [b]Jones[/b] performed his new album in sequence, dressed all in black and backed by a four-piece band, including producer [b]Ethan Johns[/b] on guitar.

[b]Jones[/b] had been nervous before the show, telling [b]Uncut’s[/b] sister publication [b]NME[/b]: “This is a new experience for me. I’m known as a showman, so when you play unfamiliar material, you’re never sure how the crowd will react.”

In the event the crowd responded well to the new songs, though there were repeated, bellowed requests for more familiar material, in particular [b]Jones[/b]’ 1999 hit [b]’Sex Bomb'[/b].

At the end of the gig, when it became clear there would be no encore of hits, some low-level booing could be heard, though this turned to cheers when it was announced the singer would return to play the festival’s [b]Obelisk Stage[/b] on Sunday (July 18).

[b]Tom Jones[/b] played:

[b]’What Good Am I’
‘Lord Help The Poor & Needy’
‘Did Trouble Me’
‘Strange Things Happen Everyday’
‘Burning Hell’
‘If I Give My Soul’
‘You Don’t Knock’
‘Nobody’s Fault But Mine’
‘Didn’t It Rain’
‘Ain’t No Grave’
‘Run On’
‘Praise And Blame'[/b]

However, the earlier crowd problems cast a shadow over the performance. Fans who’d been turned away were angry with organisers. [b]Fran Rose[/b], 18, from [b]Ipswich[/b] told [b]NME[/b]: “This was a nightmare. We got caught in a human crush on the bridge and there was no crowd control. Young kids in the crowd were really scared, someone could have got hurt.”

[b]Tom Martin[/b], 21, from [b]London[/b], added: “What’s the point in putting an artist on a stage where no-one can see him? They must have known loads of people would want to see Tom Jones. It’s not rocket science.”

[b]Latitude[/b] continues today (July 16) with performances from [b]Florence And The Machine[/b], [b]Empire Of The Sun[/b], [b]The National[/b], [b]Laura Marling[/b] and [b]Richard Hawley[/b]. [b]NME.COM[/b] will have regular reports from the site all weekend.

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