Welsh flags and knickers were flying at Slessor Gardens when Sir Tom Jones delivered a Dundee performance worth waiting for.
Sir Tom belied his 79 years during his energetic two-hour show to belt out classics such as It’s Not Unusual, You Can Leave Your Hat On, She’s A Lady and Sex Bomb.
This triumphant concert — four years ago today — was a long time coming.
Sir Tom — plain old Tom back then — almost appeared at the Top Ten Club at the Palais in 1965, which was renowned for bringing some of the top acts of the day to the city.
He was offered to promoters Andi Lothian and Freddie Saunders for £10 but they decided to place him at another venue in Scotland that they were also running.
Dundee’s loss was world’s gain!
It’s Not Unusual proved to be his signature track and he became one of the iconic voices of the mid-60s’ British Invasion that saw UK acts gain mass adulation in America.
Jones recorded Burt Bacharach and Hal David’s Academy Award-nominated title song for comedy film What’s New Pussycat? and the theme to Sean Connery-era James Bond adventure Thunderball.
He was awarded a best new artist Grammy in 1966 and further smashes followed with covers of country hit Green, Green Grass Of Home, Lonnie Donegan’s I’ll Never Fall In Love Again and the revenge murder ballad, Delilah, one of 1968’s best-selling singles.
After striking up a friendship with Elvis, offers from Caesars Palace in Las Vegas saw these club performances became his main work, until he began to record more in later years.
After a decade-long absence from the UK charts, Jones’ A Boy From Nowhere hit No 2 in 1987 and he won new fans via Art Of Noise’s brassy electro rendition of Prince’s Kiss.
Appearances at Glastonbury, plus his cover of Randy Newman’s You Can Leave Your Hat On for Brit screen hit The Full Monty, served notice of Jones’ return to full pop stardom in the 90s, culminating in a best male Brit on the back of duets with the Cardigans, Cerys Matthews, Stereophonics and Robbie Williams on 1999’s Reload.
It went on to sell four million — his biggest album.
Sir Tom was now judging today’s singers on The Voice and still performing at the top of his game when it was announced he would appear at Slessor Gardens on July 27 2019.
The announcement made front-page headlines.
Slessor Gardens was beginning to get a reputation as a fine outdoor concert venue with the likes of Little Mix, Simple Minds and Primal Scream having performed there.
Sir Tom was hottest ticket in town
Liz Doogan-Hobbs, chief executive of promoters LHG Live, said: “I have been trying to bring him to Dundee since we started doing concerts in Slessor Gardens three years ago but this is the first time the dates have worked out.
“He was one of the first names I put on my list to bring here and I’m delighted that he will now perform in Dundee this summer.
“Dundee is really beginning to earn itself a fantastic international reputation for everything that is going on in the city.
“World-class artists like Sir Tom are talking about Slessor Gardens.
“They are asking about the venue and word is spreading that it is a great place to perform.”
Tickets for the concert went on sale priced £37.50, £45 and £60.
Sir Tom was proving to be the hottest ticket in town
The 8,000-capacity concert was the first of Sir Tom’s eight-date UK summer tour to sell out and tickets immediately began appearing at vastly inflated prices online.
Sir Tom was performing in Courier Country for the first time since he wowed one of T in the Park’s largest-ever Main Stage crowds with a hip-shaking set back in July 2011.
Burning Hell was the first song
Thunder storms and rain showers didn’t dampen the spirit of his 8,000 fans and there were plenty of Welsh flags, inflatable daffodils and the inevitable knickers.
The music began at 5.15pm with support act The Dunwells, followed an hour later by Ferris & Sylvester before Sir Tom took to the stage at 8.30pm.
“Is everyone feeling all right?” he said.
“Are we going to have a good night?”
The crowd’s reception was everything you’d expect.
Sir Tom began the evening with a fiery cover of John Lee Hooker’s 1950s hit Burning Hell from 2010 album Praise & Blame, which showcased his faultless voice.
One of Elvis’s favourite songs, Run On, followed before Mama Told Me Not To Come and from then on the energy of the crowd built and built throughout the show.
Highlights from an impressive set included Sex Bomb, Delilah, I’ll Never Fall in Love Again, Green, Green Grass of Home and What’s New Pussycat?
Sir Tom blew the non-existent roof off Slessor Gardens with It’s Not Unusual.
Knickers were airborne.
The bona fide voice of the valleys finished with cover versions of Louis Armstrong’s What A Wonderful World and Prince’s Kiss, which was one of many standout songs.
The ballads and bangers were all accompanied with charming anecdotes from his career in music, including ones on some of the world’s biggest stars he became friends with.
Sir Tom had the fans in the palm of his hand throughout.
Who else was in the crowd?
Dundee United owner Mark Ogren was at a loose end after his flight arrival from the United States meant it was impossible for him to head down to England for the Tangerines’ pre-season friendly against Shrewsbury Town.
Ogren decided to use his spare time by joining thousands of others to watch the Welshman strut his stuff at Slessor Gardens.
Who could blame him?
The Evening Telegraph review said: “Sir Tom Jones succeeded in kicking up a Fever on the Green, Green Grass of Slessor Gardens on Saturday.
“Despite the constant drizzle, the Welsh legend got the 8,000-strong crowd on side from his first number and kept them involved right until the end.
“He was slick, professional and his voice as strong as ever belting out hit after hit.
“The variety of hits helped the crowd forget about the weather and they were happily joining in singing, dancing and having a ball – with Police Scotland reporting the concert passed peacefully, with road closures causing only slight delays.
“It may be only the first concert to take place at Slessor Gardens this year, but it was certainly a memorable one.”
At 83 the Welsh wailer still remains a powerful live force.
He is back on tour this summer and insists he won’t be retiring any time soon.
Here’s hoping Sir Tom keeps on burning down the house at towns and cities across the land for years to come.