Whatever ‘it’ is, Tom Jones still has it.
Consequently, a swell audience had assembled themselves in Bedford Park on a fitting summer’s evening to be wowed by the Welsh legend.
Last night, Bedford was regaled with a ninety minute set of showmanship, easy charm, and Jones magic.
Tom was tasked with finishing what Dizzee Rascal started – a weekend of music and merriment in Bedford, and his fans are a devout lot, judging by this splendid turnout.
Famously, Tom was Elvis’s favourite singer, with the pair enjoying a very real friendship before the King’s death in 1977.
He pays tribute to his lost friend with the song, A Soul of a Man.
Hit or Miss, his version of the Odetta soul track comes early in the set, and Mama Told Me Not to Come has the crowd eating from the palm of his hand.
“Every time I’d record an album I’d take a copy home and play it to my late wife,” Tom reveals, making a poignant reference to his significant other, who passed away this year. He then delivers the Lonnie Johnson cover Tomorrow Night for her.
Midway through the set the mood changes, the stage is bathed in crimson and the knives are out – Delilah is back!
The hits keep on coming, with his taut and tidy band pinning things perfectly in place throughout, as Green, Green Grass of Home, It’s Not Unusual, You Can Leave Your Hat On and Thunderball all hold his audience close.
A little nod to Prince, some more boogie-woogie and Strange Things Happen Everyday, and then, quicker than you could whip off your smalls and toss ‘em his way, Sir Tom is off.
“We’ve had a ball tonight and hope you have too...” he says before leaving.
For the moment, this music man’s work is done, but as the deckchairs and blankets are packed up, the hummimg of classics remains.
What a man, what a voice. Turns out, Tom Jones IS unusual.
There really isn’t another like him.