THE word ‘legend’ tends to get bandied around all too freely these days but in the case of Tom Jones it is thoroughly deserved.
Here is a man who has been entertaining since the 1960s and manages to successfully re-invent himself as each new decade arrives, winning legions of new fans long the way.
Even someone like David Bowie has had some decidedly dodgy moments in a lengthy career, yet somehow Tom Jones manages to consistently remain at the top of his game.
Tracks from his latest album ‘24 Hours’ sounded fresh and contemporary yet still show of the amazing singing talents of the voice from the Valleys to the full.
Sugar Daddy, written by Bono and The Edge from U2 gave Jones the excuse to make the most of that amazing rapport he has with his audiences and also offer the chance for him to poke fun at himself into the bargain.
Things built up nicely, I particularly enjoyed hearing his Bond theme ‘Thunderball’ if only for the fact that the lush orchestral arrangements made famous by John Barry were recreated to great effect by Tom’s amazing backing band.
It was when he launched into the opening bars of ‘Delilah’ that the place erupted though.
I expected to see a flurry of knicker-throwing at this point but maybe special security arrangements were in place to prevent it - either that or it just doesn’t happen any more.
Another highlight was the unplugged style country set with ‘He’ll Have to Go’ and ‘The Green Green Grass of Home’, Tom going back to his early days when he played social clubs around his native Wales.
Two hours flew by and it was without doubt a fitting way to formally open the revamped and redesigned LG Arena.
Tom’s voice sounds as good if not better than ever, it’s nothing short of amazing how a 69-year-old pensioner can sign and perform like that.
The whole night was summed up by two sets of ardent fans I observed dancing at the rousing finale - two girls in their late teens or early twenties and two rows behind them a couple of women in their seventies, all enthralled by Tom and loving every minute of it.