I had seen Tom Jones in concert quite a few years ago and although he effortlessly belted out his hits with the expected gusto, I think it would be fair to say that his audience interaction left a lot to be desired.
However at Saturday night’s mercifully almost dry summer Lytham Proms, Tom was in a much more friendly mood.
With lots of “Oh yeah’s”, “Come on’s” and favourite sing-along numbers, he held the poncho-wearing crowd captivated, even managing to slip in Didn’t It Rain at exactly the right moment during the only shower of his performance.
All the hits were included from toe-tapping favourites like It’s Not Unusual to some serious rock n roll and even a slightly swing-y Sex Bomb.
The 74-year-old’s inimitable style shone through as The Voice rang round Lytham Green, his energy still seemingly boundless (although I’m sure I saw him go slightly cross-eyed on the third “why’s” and “my’s” of Delilah!)
And as the ground was churned up below us, Tom reminded us of his roots with a heartfelt performance of Green, Green Grass of Home, continuing the evening’s Welsh theme which had begun with a lively set from Cerys Matthews during a brief but welcome blast of sunshine.
Cerys gave us a great warm-up as the Welsh flags waved and I even spotted the odd person dressed as a daffodil.
But a duet with Sir Tom on Baby it’s Cold Outside disappointingly wasn’t to be.
But that was my only disappointment. Now in its fifth year, the Lytham Proms looks set to become a pretty big player in the summer festival list. The organisers and staff had everything running like clock-work with fast-moving queues, a great range of reasonably priced food and drinks available and plenty of Portaloos!
So despite the damp everyone from aged eight to 80 seemed to love it. Tom’s legion of female fans were there in full force but the weather must have prevented them from removing certain items of clothing for ammunition and they merely got their not entirely reluctant men dancing in their wellies.
When you think about it, it is slightly bizarre what we do despite the rain. But somebody once said, “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only the wrong clothes”. However, sitting in a field wrapped in a black bin-liner would have meant an entirely different thing to me 20 years ago!