Without doubt, one of the finest singers in the country Sir Tom Jones has never sounded better.
His compelling combination of soul and passion has seen a career that has lasted over five decades and has never really seemed to wane but with his recent material highlighting THAT voice he’s achieved greater acclaim than ever.
Opening with the stripped back, dirty blues of ‘Burning Hell’ followed by a charged
‘Mama Told Me Not To Come’ it was very much a real statement of intent by a man who is not just utterly professional but also absolutely loving what he does.
Covering a range of styles from the Gospel tinged Rock and Roll of ‘Don’t Knock’ to the Cajun influenced ‘Raise a Ruckus Tonight’ he made each his very own, ably supported by an incredibly tight nine piece band.
Of course, all the hits were there but played with fresh arrangements that breathed new life into classics like ‘Delilah’ and ‘It’s Not Unusual’.
Perfectly illustrating this was the slow build into a swinging version of ‘Sex Bomb’ that was a revelation with Sir Tom’s vocals nothing short of jaw-dropping. Another highlight was a heartfelt and heart rending ‘Elvis Presley Blues’ where the pain of the loss of his old friend was so raw it was plain for all to see.
Through a two hour set there were many other extraordinary moments that transcended what, in some hands, would have been purely another ‘show’. The contrast between the elegiac ‘Tower of Song’ and the hugely sensual and downright fun ‘You Can Leave Your Hat On’ couldn’t have been more marked and perfectly illustrated the breadth of material played.
Finishing the evening with his (thus far) only Bond theme; the powerful ‘Thunderball’, a buoyant ‘Kiss’ and the wonderful ‘Strange Things’ there couldn’t have been a single person who went away anything less than utterly satisfied.
Any man who could count both Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley as admirers has to have something special and at Newmarket he more than proved that, at the age of seventy-five, he still most definitely has ‘it’. Superb and life affirming.