Legendary Welsh singer Sir Tom Jones performed at the sold-out Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (Adnec) on Friday. Image Credit: Abdul Rahman/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: Legendary performer Sir Tom Jones proved that he still had it when he performed to a sold out crowd at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (Adnec) on Friday, April 16, 2010.

“This is the first concert here [Adnec], isn’t it? It’s exciting to be here and it’s amazing that we’re the first ones to be performing here,” Jones said, grinning.

Dressed in black jeans, navy blue shirt and accessorized with a large gold cross and his trademark tan, the Welsh singer inaugurated Adnec’s Abu Dhabi Hall in true Tom Jones style, accompanied by his 11 member band and two backup singers.

“This song [Seasons ] may sound like I’m singing about a woman, but I’m not…I’m not singing about a man either,” Tom said, with a cheeky grin. “The song is about my relationship with music over the years and how blessed I am to have this singing voice,” he added, drawing cheers from the audience.

Jones sang a medley of songs that included material from his latest album, 24 hours, which was released in 2008, in addition to some classic favourites such as What’s New Pussycat?, Keep Your Hat On, Delilah, She’s A Lady and the song that, according to Tom, started it all – It’s Not Unusual.

The infectious rhythms and old favourites ensured that everyone was on their feet throughout the evening – which, for an entirely seated venue, speaks for itself.

“I’ll be 70 years old in June…on June 5, that’s my birthday…but you know what? I feel great!” Jones said. “This is the final performance in our three month tour [the 24 Hour Tour] and all I have to say is, what a way to end the tour!” he added before launching into the final encore of the highly energetic evening, Sex Bomb.

And even though the concert had ended, many audience members have been spotted dancing their way to their cars, proving that the evening was a great success on many levels.

It IS unusual

Maybe it's just me, but when the brass section give it all they've got in the opening few bars of Tom Jones' unmistakable It's Not Unusual, it's not unusual for the audience go crazy and dance.

He's one of the world's most critically acclaimed artists, performing for the first time in a decade in Abu Dhabi - but for the majority of fans, the concert was enjoyed from a seated position.

An all-new venue in Abu Dhabi, the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre's Abu Dhabi Hall was impressive in size, facilities, excellent access and parking but somehow lacked that extra something needed for an artist like Jones.

He may be 69, but he doesn't stay still, and is used to ladies packed tight, dancing at the railing in front of him (and usually throwing items of clothing).

It was nice to sit for the slower numbers but let's face it, Jones isn't exactly famous for his ballads.

For me there was just a feeling of 'should I, shouldn't I?' from an audience uncertain whether getting up and having a boogie in the aisles was appropriate.

After I finally found the courage to stand and dance, the lady behind asked me to sit down as she couldn't see.

But it worked out ok for me in the end as I hot-footed it down to the front to enjoy Jones in all his glory and hear Delilah, She's a Lady and It's Not Unusual as well as his of other chart-topping hits

 - By Kelly Crane, Staff Reporter