Saeed Saeed | September 21, 2013
Tom Jones’ du Forum performance indicates he remains interested in charting new territory.
In a current pop world viewing advanced age as the career death knell, Tom Jones’ Abu Dhabi performance on Thursday night proves you can grow old gracefully and maintain your fans.
The 73-year-old delivered a fine night’s entertainment; the varied crowd at the du Forum included elderly canoodling couples and a sizable younger set excited to see an artist who even Elvis Presley consulted for career advice.
Backed by a ten piece band, including a pair of female backing vocalists and a three piece horn section, Jones’ performance neatly divided into two sections.
After warming the crowd with a rollicking take of the groove laden Mama Told Me Not To Come, Jones settled for a selection of tracks from his recent pair of rootsy albums, this year’s Spirit In The Room and 2010’s Praise and Blame.
While the tracks lacked the immediate punch and vocal acrobatics of his hit material, it was a deft showcase of the Welshman’s pristine voice.
Leonard Cohen’s Tower of Song may sound a tad morbid in the original recording, but Jones sweet tenor delivered hope to the proceedings, even if he is singing about how his “friends are gone and my hair is grey / I ache in the places where I used to play.”
Jones take on Kenny Rogers’ Just Dropped In was positively sensuous with the bass-lines purring along in the background.
The performance picked up mid-set with a jaunty version of The Band’s Up on Cripple Creek (with some truly lush New Orleans style organs in the chorus) before the backing vocalist joined in to go toe to toe with Jones in the gospel meets rockabilly of Don’t Knock.
Thanking the crowd for this recent excursion, Jones stormed it home in the second half with back to back hits including the lilting sing-along Green, Green Grass of Home, the Mariachi infused Delilah and off-course the career-starter What’s New Pussy Cat.
Unlike the hit-fest of Jones’ 2010 ADNEC show, the set-list this time-around was a clearer representation of where Jones is at the moment.
The hits of old may continue to endure, but Jones recent material indicates he is still interested in charting new territory.