Tom Jones at the Brighton Centre - 4 star Telegraph Review

Sir Tom JonesTom Jones has gone though more career reinventions than Madonna and David Bowie put together, but on his apparently endless tour to promote last year’s 24 Hours album he seems finally to have accepted his age. Not only did he announce at one point that he’s 69, but the day-glo orange tan and dark-dyed curls have been replaced by white hair and a goatee beard that give the singer an unanticipated dignity.What’s also less than expected, especially to a sceptic who has seen him perform before, is how very contagious his current show is. Clad in an iridescent blue suit and backed by an eight-piece band and two backing singers, he delivered in spades. Initially, it was predictable enough, the Bond theme, Thunderball, was belted out with aplomb alongside sundry other numbers, but the venue remained firmly glued to their chairs. Unsurprisingly it was one of his most famous hits, Delilah, that changed the mood but how suddenly and how much was a big surprise. The audience, mostly aged between 40 and 70, waved their arms and, as one, yelled the “Ha, ha, ha” that greets the line “She stood there laughing”. From then on, the atmosphere buzzed as Jones delivered tune after familiar tune with requisite pizzazz. His passion for soul shone through as he tackled songs such as Hard To Handle and Burning Down The House, but like the expert Las Vegas entertainer he is, he can persuasively switch modes in an instant, dragging everyone along for the martial, country-tinged Green, Green Grass of Home, and moments later riding a four-to-the-floor electronic beat as he sang Stoned In Love, his 2006 hit with dance producer Chicane. As far as the notorious cult of knicker-throwing went, initial attempts were rather desultory, falling well short of the stage. By the time of Sex Bomb, however, the crowd had surged to the front and the underwear was hitting its target to roared approval. It’s Not Unusual was Jones’ first hit 45 years ago and was greeted with such fervour it seemed unlikely that he’d top it, but when he returned for an encore of Prince’s Kiss the wiley old coot showed us his tummy on the line, “I know how to undress me” and caused a pandemonium of shrieking from women old enough to know better. He ended with Take Me Back To The Party from his latest album, but its relative unfamiliarity didn’t matter a jot and he left the stage to a rapturous wall of applause.