Review: Forget any of the young pretenders, Tom Jones landed an early knockout blow as he took to T in the Park's Main Stage on the sunny Friday evening for a bellowing, hip-shaking set.
The sun out, it was just the right time for a bluesy slide guitar to lurch out of the speakers, the bass drum beat then brazenly thudding away as - head to toe in black - the one and only Tom Jones sauntered on to the Main Stage, his wondrous sensual bellow of a voice wrapping itself around menacing new tune Ain't No Grave.
'Is everyone feeling alright? Are we going to have a good night?' Tom purred before playing one of Elvis's favourite songs Run On, the band grooving away readily behind him with a healthy vigour. (The rousing audience reaction probably gave him all the answers he needed to those pre-song queries.)
The opening part of the set culled more from recent album Praise and Blame, the festival crowd seemed content though a little restless before the swooning Green, Green Grass of Home introduced itself as the first classic of the evening, thus receiving the most gentle and heart-warming singalong likely to be witnessed at T in the Park all weekend, hands swaying in the air and couples' arms around each other becoming that much tighter.
It was a relaxed and soulful set for the most part - no place for more fast-paced hip-swingers like Sex Bomb. Instead this was a chance to laze back in the cool summer breeze and appreciate the joys of being at a festival. (Especially one that's not a washout - well, not yet anyway...)
The lack of a deluge might have dampened the impact of Didn't It Rain (no pun intended), but by goodness it helped for the resplendent Delilah, the crowd ably doing the work the perfectly adequate backing singers were employed for. (Well, perhaps not as tunefully, though the paying punters more than made up for it in terms of spirit.)
And oh, that wily old fox! Mama Told Me Not To Come was wheeled out next as old Tom busted out the hits. It was a fantastic hip-shaking finale that would prove one hell of an act for relatively inexperienced young contender Plan B to try and follow on the Main Stage, You Can Leave Your Hat On landing a knockout blow before the contest had even taken place. Then It's Not Unusual was brought out in usual glorious fashion before the strutting funk of Kiss planted its smacker on the crowd, allowing the sort of jiving among attendees that drunken uncles the world over would be proud of. By goodness, Mr Jones showed those a quarter of his age exactly how you have a ball.
By Michael MacLennan