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Music review: Tom Jones, Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh

He may be in his eighties but Tom Jones still has more than enough vocal firepower to bring his most famous material to life writes David Pollock. With Sir Ian McKellen and Herbie Hancock both performing during this Edinburgh Festival it appears to be the year of the eighty something. Much like his contemporaries Tom Jones has weathered impressively over the years with only the pure whiteness of his hair and goatee contradicting his physical and vocal power.

The other impressive factor and this feels thrown into sharper focus every time he tours is just how much he has parlayed the energy of his younger decades most famous material roaring voice distinctive pop melodies air of kitsch hen party sexuality into a career as an elder rock statesperson. His style here was more in line with the raw rhythm n blues of his younger years yet he and his band manage to incorporate all that old material seamlessly.Its Not Unusual Sex Bomb and a tender Green Green Grass of Home appeared and Delilahs tone was subtly but perfectly transformed with accordion led Spanish folk backing.The backdrop turned into a 3D dancefloor for You Can Leave Your Hat On while an impressive level of funk was mustered by the band for Kiss.

Jones version remains one of the best and only examples of a singer making a song belonging to Prince their own.Leonard Cohens Tower of Song sounded perfect in his hands and a recent song named One Hell of a Life urges the world to please do not philosophise or feel regret when he has gone. As the closing cover of Johnny B Goode demonstrated he feels young and lucky to this day.Around these staples more mature material was interwoven. From last years covers album Surrounded By Time powerfully owned versions of Bob Dylans One More Cup of Coffee Valley Below and Terry Calliers Lazarus Man were perfectly adapted for his style while Todd Sniders prowling rocky Talking Reality Television Blues in which an Apprentice star wreaks reality killed by a reality star is an almost too on-the-nose commentary on Jones own unhappy reality judging experience.


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