After a recent health scare that caused the legend to postpone a few gigs, Tom Jones is back in business.
Bedecked in a rather splendid blue tartan number, the man with a voice like a Welsh wood-chipper opens the inaugural Edinburgh Summer Sessions in front of a sell-out crowd on a rather glorious Monday night in the capital.
Ably backed by a youthful backing band, his opener could be testament to the recent heatwave in the shape of Burning Hell. As befits a performer who’s been plying his trade since even most of this crowd were born, he has a few tales to tell and can’t resist a wee name-drop early doors recalling his days playing in Vegas and hanging out with Elvis
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Mama Told Me Not To come is up next and 2010’s Did Trouble Me and Raise a Ruckus Tonight, complete with Tuba solo, keep up the comparatively recent outings. At this juncture he takes a swig of something before telling the story about his days working in a factory in 1955 and entering a dance contest at his local hall with the sole purpose of wooing a local beauty. Not only did it work, but it led to 59 years of marriage.
Unsurprisingly, Delilah was given a mighty welcome from the crowd, and the chorus was likely heard by the audience up in the castle enjoying the Tattoo. A high point was Leonard Cohen’s Tower of Song. A splendidly sensitive version it is too. A slew of crowd-pleasers up next in the shape of Green, Green Grass, It’s Not Unusual and the slow sleaze of You Can Leave Your Hat On accompanied by some hats being sent skyward.
A two minute break and then the man is back and Wonderful World is given a rather wonderful treatment and then a heartfelt tribute to the “genius” that was Prince and a funked up Kiss finished proceedings.
A workmanlike performance from the main man but that’s always been his thing, mostly reinventing and interpreting other act’s work over six decades. And as the audience started to disperse in the evening, the fireworks went off above the castle. Nothing to do with Tom but they may as well have been. Oh, and I didn’t see a single pair of pants launched at the stage. Maybe his fans are maturing with him…