It’s been a while since I’ve done a ‘big gig’ and this was probably the first time I’ve ever attended one of those increasingly popular ‘mega names in a posh place’ shows. A number of performers (often those with a history that dates back almost as far as the stately homes that host quite a few of these gigs) hit the road (or air I’m guessing) these days and with tickets at £40+ a pop and a capacity of several thousand punters (plus a cut of the bar no doubt) you can see why.
Tonight’s show was standing at the rear and seated at the front, separated by a barrier which created a kind of ‘them and us’ divide that I’m not used to/in favour of. Plus, of course, the 'standers' (including us this evening) were some way from the stage with no chance of getting closer meaning that you end up watching the action on giant screens. I’ll be honest it’s not my bag but after a pleasant enough set from Into The Ark (the legend himself picked them during a recent series of The Voice and had apparently taken ‘em on tour across the States) Sir Tom delivered the kind of classic hits littered set that few performers left on planet earth could match.
For many of us the songs that made up the bulk of tonight’s set are practically in our DNA, What’s New Pussycat?, It’s Not Unusual, Delilah, Mama Told Me Not To Come, Sittin’ On The Dock Of The Bay, Green Green Grass Of Home, Ring of Fire, Kiss...not all Tom originals but he pretty much makes everything he sings his own. At 78 and a bit that voice is seemingly as powerful as ever but with an added richness that comes from decades (six and counting) of performing. Of course as well as being one of the greats this dude’s sung with pretty much all of them too, what I wouldn’t have given to have been a fly on the wall when he used to sing gospel with Elvis after shows in Vegas, just one of the little anecdotes casually dropped into tonight’s set.
All in all the boy(o) done good.