“We’re going to leave you with a rock ‘n’ roll, gospel, R&B, country blues number with a little boogie woogie on the side” says Tom Jones after almost two hours. Jones does it all and he does it all superbly.
One of the most loved performers of his generation, the sprightly 78 year-old walked onto the Hampton Court stage to a standing ovation from the sell-out crowd.
He began with Burning Hell from his 2010 delta blues album Praise and Blame, his voice as powerful as ever. He wasted no time in confirming his musical pedigree by saying the next track, Run On, from the same album, was one of Elvis Presley’s favourites that they used to sing together after their respective concerts in Las Vegas.
From the blues to New Orleans with the raucous Raise a Ruckus Tonight, complete with accordion and sousaphone.
Sex Bomb had a slightly slower tempo than the recording, this was the pattern for many of the songs. This is not an artist churning out old material in the same old way, there were many new arrangements.
Into rock ’n’ roll with Shake which he hadn’t sung since 1967, and Take My Love as a tribute to his late wife. Next, gospel with a tremendously powerful and emotional version of Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child.
Then the big songs, Delilah, with a cajun arrangement, Green Green Grass Of Home and a swinging What’s New Pussycat.
A trademark “Oh Yeah” prefaced a wonderful bossa nova rendition of It’s Not Unusual with Jones excelling on vocals and the crowd erupting.
To close was What A Wonderful World which was followed by a funky Kiss and Everyday. It’s not every day you see a show like that but for Tom Jones it’s not unusual.