Review: Tom Jones - Singing the blues

01-08-2015. Picture Michael Gillen. FALKIRK. Falkirk Stadium. Sir Tom Jones in concert.
01-08-2015. Picture Michael Gillen. FALKIRK. Falkirk Stadium. Sir Tom Jones in concert.

Tom Jones, Falkirk Stadium

Reworked classics and a superb rendition of the blues from ‘the Voice’ in Falkirk ...

It’s all about ‘the voice’ and it’s all about the hits - but fans who went along expecting Tom Jones to simply roll out all the standards one more time perhaps got more than they bargained for.

At the age of 75, with nothing to prove, but still with a desire to sing, record and perform, Tom Jones reworked some of his classics, dropped some of them altogether, and layered his two-hour set with a wonderful helping of the blues.

Backed by a tight band, he played to his strengths, and it was fantastic. I’m just not sure it was entirely what many in the crowd, who came to party on the pitch, expected.

The response to a Latin-tinged ‘It’s Not Unusual’ and a flamenco infused ‘Delilah’ seemed muted, or at least delayed - neither kicked-in until the familiar opening lines of the songs confirmed what was about to come, and only after that did the stadium ring to the sound of a sing-a-long.

Ditto ‘The Green Green Grass of Home’ which was taken down a notch and welded on to the back of a long, languid cover of Leonard Cohen’s ‘Tower Of Song’ during which the levels of chatter rose considerably, while ‘Sex Bomb’ was given an unexpected and unfamiliar lower-key swinging beat which was more befitting of a man of his years, but several steps away from the original chart hit.

Only the outdated ‘I’ll Never Fall in Love Again’ - a ballad past its perform-by date - and the thundering ‘You Can Leave Your Hat On’ were served up as the fans expected. The latter had the joint jumping, as did a thundering ‘Mama Told Me Not Come’

Jones rounded the gig off with some belters - ‘If I Only Knew’ as well as the cracking ‘Crazy ‘Bout An Automobile’ and Chuck Berry’s ‘Reelin’ & Rocking’ but there was no ‘What’s New Pussycat’ - just one of his standards dropped from a lean, carefully crafted set that, I suspect, would have worked better in a smaller setting.

But with around 10,000 fans in the building, Jones clearly still has the pulling power to fill decent sized stadiums, and he is sounding better than ever.