In our exclusive interview with Tom Jones early this month, the great Welshman proudly revealed how he holds the record for most performances in Las Vegas. After last night's show at the all-new Abu Dhabi Hall, it's easy to see why. For one night only, the man they call 'The Voice' transformed a piece of the capital into a tiny Vegas outpost, and the 5000-strong audience were treated to the best concert this city has seen in years. Not since Elton John played Emirates Palace back in 2008 has their been such an eclectic, all-inclusive gig in these parts. Not that Flash Entertainment hasn't brought in decent acts in the interim - Beyonce and Aerosmith certainly appealed to the masses - but no one has managed to spark the excitement witnessed last night when the Welsh Elvis broke into 'Delilah'. Welsh flags fluttered aloft as the multi-cultural audience sang along in unison, raising the room of the new hall with a singsong that seemed to humble Jones himself. The song garnered the longest standing ovation of the night; all the stunned singer could manage was a cheeky giggle.
The star put his amazing vocal talents to use across a wide range of genres: big Vegas numbers such as the 007 theme tune 'Thunderball' and 'What's New Pussycat' were followed by light acoustic versions from his country period ('Green, Green Grass of Home'). The audience lapped up his funk-driven recent offerings - 'Sex Bomb' and 'You Can Leave Your Hat On' brought the house down - and the whole hall was on its feet for his first hit, the 1965 classic, 'It's Not Unusual'.
The evening closed after almost two hours with a mini Prince medley that eventually segued into 'Kiss', the singer admitting that he'd usually go offstage briefly before the closing numbers, but on this night felt like pushing on through. The reason came at the very end when he announced that Abu Dhabi was the closing night of his world tour. The audience joined him in congratulating his crew, all of whom came on stage for the last number as Jones drove it home.
Of course, Dhabi and Flash Entertainment will continue to revel in diversity, but Tom Jones proved that the old legends die hard. This was showmanship that only comes through decades of experience, with singalongs the likes of which this crowd would obviously love to see more of. Note to the bods at Flash: if you've got Mick Jagger's number, use it.