IAN HART: Have the BBC derailed Sir Tom Jones?

Ian Hart
Ian Hart

Whilst The Who front man Roger Daltrey once famously sung “I hope I die before I get old”, he didn’t get his wish and recently wowed the crowds at the Isle of Wight Festival, one of a number of our more ‘mature’ artists who regularly play to packed venues at home and abroad.

Last Sunday it was the turn of Sussex County Cricket Club to host the legendary Sir Tom Jones, 76 and still going strong.

At this point I must declare an interest – last Sunday was the sixth time I’ve seen the boyo from the valleys.

Prior to Sunday every concert had effectively been a greatest hits show – with 36 top 40 hits there are a few to choose from – with a few covers and the odd new song from a current album thrown in. It is a tried and tested formula which, like all of the other great global artists, has stood the test of time. Until Sunday, that is.

All credit to Sir Tom, four years off the big 80 and he still did nearly an hour and three quarters, but greatest hits? Sadly not. Only seven of the 36 charting records with the rest of the set made up of a combination of country, bluegrass and a song about Elvis that sounded more like an alarm going off on a mobile phone. Whilst it’s Sir Tom’s prerogative to change direction with his concerts, what’s the reason for it?

In my opinion his treatment by the BBC after his alleged sacking from ‘The Voice’ has almost galvanised him into trying to prove that he’s not out of touch, hence the diverse set list.

He’s still got an amazing voice but, personally, for £75 I would have much preferred at least 15/20 of the hits/covers which still allows his to go ‘off-piste’ for at least two or three songs.

A couple of weeks ago the commander-in-chief and I went to The O2 Arena to see Lionel Richie, and it was exactly what it said on the tin – ‘A Greatest Hits Tour’.

Lionel’s whole tour sold out, Sir Tom only managed to sell 6,000 of the 12,000 capacity at Hove.

Sadly, the BBC seems to have sent his career off at a tangent.

Hopefully for his 80th birthday tour he will be back doing what he does best.

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