To see a legend like Tom Jones up close and personal at a venue the size of Melbourne’s Forum Theatre was indeed a rare occasion. Jones would not have played at a venue this small in Australia probably ever.
Tom Jones is in Australia for one purpose only and that was to perform at the AFL Grand Final. His intimate Melbourne showcase was a last minute addition to his schedule and a one-off appearance out of his football commitments.
Sir Tom used the exceptional occasion to present almost a two-hour set of songs that mainly inspired him and some that fired him up. Tom’s musical direction in recent years focused on blues and country and this set spotlighted songs from his two recent albums ‘Spirit In The Room’ (2012) and ‘Praise and Blame’ (2010). Both albums showcase the remarkable voice of Tom Jones to the sound of incredible songwriters like Hank Williams, John Lee Hooker, Richard Thompson and Leonard Cohen. Jones opened the set with Cohen’s ‘Tower of Song’, as featured in his own ‘Spirit In The Room’ album.
Richard Thompson’s ‘Dimming Of The Day’, Odetta Gordon’s ‘Hit Or Miss’, Blind Willie Johnson’s ‘Soul Of A Man’ and Hank Williams ‘Why Don’t You Love Me’ took the attention away from Tom Jones, 60s pop star with his voice becoming the lead instrument in the show.
The first hour was about the songs, not the hits. Only a bluesy surf guitar version of his own classic ‘Delilah’ gave any indication of his hit making past.
Sir Tom rewarded older fans later in the set with songs they would be familiar with. ‘Green Green Grass of Home’, ‘I’ll Never Fall In Love Again’ and ‘It’s Not Unusual’ were played later in the set as was his Prince hit ‘Kiss’ and his James Bond theme ‘Thunderball’.
Tom told a few stories, like how how he and Elvis used to hang out together after their Vegas shows and sing in the room. One of those songs ‘Run On’ (recorded by Tom recently for Praise and Blame’) was given at run at The Forum. So was the 1955 Billy Boy Arnold song ‘I Wish You Would’ later covered by The Yardbirds in 1964 and then David Bowie for Pin Ups in 1973.
Music fans are rarely treated to a show of his calibre in a venue this size with an audience this small. Tom Jones at the Forum was a special occasion.
Tom Jones setlist, Melbourne, September 24, 2014
Tower Of Song (from Spirit In The Room, 2012)
Hit Or Miss (from Spirit In The Room, 2012)
Why Don’t You Love Me Like You Used To Do (Hank Williams cover)
Raise A Ruckus (tradional)
Dimming Of The Day (from Spirit In The Room, 2012)
Burning Hell (from Praise and Blame, 2010)
Delilah (from Delilah, 1968)
Didn’t It Rain (traditional)
Don’t Knock (from Praise and Blame, 2010)
I Gotta Keep Waking
Soul Of A Man (from Spirit In The Room, 2012)
Run On (from Praise and Blame, 2010) used to sing with elvis
Shake A Hand
Green Green Grass Of Home (from Green Green Grass of Home, 1967)
I’m Never Fall In Love (single, 1967)
Its Not Unusual (from Along Came Jones, 1965)
Crazy Bout My Automobile/ Reeling and Rocking (Ry Cooder/Chuck Berry covers)
I Wish You Would (The Yardbirds cover)
Thunderball (from James Bond Thunderball soundtrack, 1966)
Kiss (single, 1988)
Strange Things (Sister Rosetta Stone cover)
Never miss a story! Get your free Noise11.com daily music news email alert. Subscribe to the Noise11 Music Newsletter here