Music review: Tom Jones, Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh

Tom Jones PIC: Jeff Spicer/Getty Images
Tom Jones PIC: Jeff Spicer/Getty Images
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PRIOR to this show, headlines had been made about a series of gig cancellations following the hospitalisation of Sir Tom Jones, now 78. You wouldn’t have known it to look at him, however, because the versatile singer appears ageless and undimmed while onstage.

Music review: Tom Jones, Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh ****

Jones’ still-impressive vocal power is versatile and his taste in classic artists wide, meaning he can easily turn his hand to blues, soul or rock and roll, perhaps even more easily than he can slip into the restrictions of contemporary pop; yet despite a resurgence in cross-generational fame caused by his time as a judge on The Voice, he still appears to be a firm favourite of many older women who perhaps hark back to his days as a strapping young pop star.

Wearing a blue checked suit jacket, he appeared more the dignified elder statesman here, however. Even Sexbomb, his signature ode to flirtation, was enriched by a sonic makeover which encompassed first blues and then lounge jazz, while staples like Delilah and What’s New Pussycat? were shorn of some of their period bombast.

In many ways, in fact, his set works best when he’s interpreting the songs which have inspired and enriched his own sound over the years, and in their breadth and variety the true depth of his skill is revealed.

From a boisterous Rock Around the Clock to Little Willie John’s bluesy Take My Love to a version of Johnny Cash’s Ring of Fire with support act and sometime Voice protégés Into the Ark, as well as a striking take on Leonard Cohen’s Tower of Song, he delivered something for everyone.