Sunday, 20 July 2014

Tom Jones

Edinburgh Castle Sunday 20 July 2014 

After the very wet BBC One Live concert the previous night, it was such a lovely contrast to be bathed in early evening sunshine overlooking the Castle esplanade.
View across the Forth to Fife from the Castle
Tom Jones has little to prove. He is that rarest of commodities – a living legend who still genuinely deserves that title. 

Tom in full flow
The crowd were enjoying the balmy evening and as is probably standard at Sir Tom's gigs, many had come dressed to impress ...
Tom Jones masks?
Welsh daffodil
[Note - all the video links in this blog entry are from the Net - variable quality, but nicely capturing the atmosphere.]

I'd never seen Tom live before, and fully expected the fairly standard greatest hits set performed in crowd-pleasing fashion, however, what he gave us on the night was much more than that. 

From his entrance stage-right, he began with the John Lee Hooker blues classic Burning HellHis band were glorious - obviously hand picked, and every song was delivered in a refreshing slightly unusual form.

We were treated to a relaxed lounge version of  Mama Told Me Not to Come followed by a version of Sex Bomb which was full of jazz piano and brass.

It almost seems churlish to mention that he’s 74 years old, but relevant in the context of his voice. He still has the vocal range, and the confidence to mix it up, of someone 50 years younger.

Off-stage, although the crowd ranged in age terms from eight to 80 and was mostly balanced between men and women, the ladies were clearly in charge. Undies were inevitably thrown during Sex Bomb and again often throughout the show.
Bridget Jones knickers?

Jones didn't rise to the bait but, remaining quietly dignified, he allowed himself the occasional chuckle as the offending articles were quietly shunted to the side of the stage.

Musical diversity continued with the accordion and steel guitar driven version of Dylan's  Tomorrow Night, a beautiful Spanish guitar rendition of Delilah ("There's lovely" said Tom as the guitar intro finished), and a slightly Eastern European folk feel to It's Not Unusual. 

There was the rock/blues cover of Howling Wolf's Evil, a fabulous version of Leonard Cohen’s Tower of Song ("I was born like this, I had no choice, I was born with the gift of a golden voice"), the slow tear jerking I'm Never Gonna Fall In Love Again and the country and western flavoured Raise a Ruckus Tonight.

Only Green, Green Grass of Home and You Can Leave Your Hat On were closer to the original and traditional Tom Jones delivery.

He finished a rather excellent 90-100 minute set with an encore - Kiss

Still on top form

The consummate professional, Tom seems to be able to combine careful precision but at the same time appear to be care-free and having a great time. Having now seen the Man once, I would recommend seeing him live - you might be surprised. Great gig!

------ Support ------
The support was James Walsh who is probably best known as the front-man of UK rock quartet Starsailor. 

James Walsh
He was at the Castle to promote his new album Turning Point which, based on this performance is well worth a listen.


  1. I always wondered about this knickers-throwing business. Do the ladies (I assume it is all ladies) bring spares along in their handbags for throwing, or do they whip off the ones they are wearing? Such mysteries intrigue me more and more as I get older.
    Great write-up.

    1. It was definitely all ladies doing the knickers thing, but I have no idea whether these were brought along specially, or still warm. Funniest thing was Tom's chuckles as the roadies swept them up between songs :-)