EARLY on in this show there was a pause for breath, as old pro Tom Jones – club crooner cool in a silver jacket and black shirt – expressed his delight at being back on the esplanade of Edinburgh Castle once more.
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This time, however, the show was a little different. Where previously the still-lively 74-year-old had provided a fairly standard greatest hits set performed in crowd-pleasing fashion, this time the mood of “authentic” musical classicism he’s been playing about with over the last few years was employed liberally.
It worked in every sense. On a bright, warm evening, Jones and his impressively nuanced band provided a set which generously dished out the hits the audience had come for, while also delivering most of them in a suitably refreshing musical context. Opening with the tightly-wound blues growl of Burning Hell from 2010’s Praise & Blame, he casually swaggered into a reclined lounge version of Mama Told Me Not to Come and a take on Sex Bomb which filed away the song’s gauche edges with a positively jazzy piano and brass treatment.
Such diversity was the order of the day, through the Parisian croon of his take on Bob Dylan’s Tomorrow Night, the hoedown country of Raise a Ruckus Tonight, the mariachi-style Spanish guitar update of Delilah and a vaguely Eastern European take on It’s Not Unusual. Only in the nostalgic sway of Green, Green Grass of Home and You Can Leave Your Hat On’s brassy honk was there much adherence to the originals.