Graham Clark, Music Features Writer

Surrounded By Time - Tom Jones Live

Credit Cuffe and Taylor/The Piece Hall Trust
Credit Cuffe and Taylor/The Piece Hall Trust
On a balmy summer evening music legend Tom Jones brought the curtain down on a record-breaking Live At The Piece Hall 2022 – with organisers already pledging next year’s event will be even bigger.

Close to 60,000 people attended this summer’s sensational series of headline shows as some of the biggest names in music took to the stage at the historic Halifax venue over 12 stunning nights, ranging from the disco hits of Nile Rodgers and Chic, the pop of Duran Duran to newcomers on the music scene such as Tom Grennan.

Live At The Piece Hall co-promoters The Piece Hall Trust and Cuffe and Taylor are certainly not resting on their laurels as they look to expand the event in 2023 amid a “real buzz” about the venue within the music industry.

With many of the shows selling out, the gig series smashed the box office records. The shows also delivered a multi-million pound boost for the local economy with many of the thousands of concert goers visiting from outside Yorkshire

Credit Cuffe and Taylor/The Piece Hall Trust
Credit Cuffe and Taylor/The Piece Hall Trust
The fans who attended Sir Tom’s concert ranged from the ones who had followed Jones from the start of his career to those who were not even born when the Welsh singer first graced the charts.

His last album, Surrounded By Time was the basis for the majority of the concert. As the title suggests the theme here is the passing of time and generally getting older. Even when suffering with a nipped nerve it did not stop Jones giving 100% during his ninety minute performance.

Jones has always been quick to appreciate the quality of a good song - his interpretations of some of the best songwriters around has always been the basis of his career.

His version of the Bobby Cole song, I’m Growing Old started the evening in a somewhat morose style - with only the accompaniment of his keyboard player the song sounded fragile yet somehow resonating.

Probably due to his nipped nerve, which Jones had been diagnosed with earlier in the day by one of the Leeds United physiotherapists, Jones looked to be just as surprised to be in Halifax as the glorious weather that had welcomed him. "It’s good to be in Halifax, we are all going to have a great evening” he confirmed.

When you have sung the big hits as many times as Jones has you could forgive him for changing around the musical style of the songs. It’s Not Unusual was stripped right back as the accordion led track gave a Parisian theme to the track.

What’s New Pussycat? still retained the waltz like quality of the original recording but gaining this time from a more simple arrangement of the song which to me sounded even better than before.

The hits continued to follow: Sex Bomb was slowed down from the original recording, Delilah sounded like it should have been the soundtrack to a spaghetti Western TV programme, whilst You Can Leave Your Hat On was given a blues feel to the track, only Green Green Grass of Home was left unchanged from the recorded version.

It was his recordings off the Surrounded By Time album where Jones seemed to be more in tune with what he was singing, especially on songs such as Lazarus Man.

When he performed You Can Leave Your Hat On, the track associated with The Full Monty, a fan threw his own hat towards the stage as if in approval of the song - which made a change from the underwear that had been thrown on stage earlier!

Credit Cuffe and Taylor/The Piece Hall Trust
Credit Cuffe and Taylor/The Piece Hall Trust
As he closed the evening with the Prince song Kiss the track sounded even better live, though it was not over yet as Jones and his band gave Halifax a taste of Boogie Woogie in the shape of Strange Things Happening Every Day. It is a true talent to sing so many styles of music with such ease that appear to flow so naturally.

A momentous end to a fantastic run of concerts at the Piece Hall. Jones still had the powerful singing voice associated with him, unlike some of his peers whose vocal abilities are somewhat diminished. Tonight Jones was bold and strong in message and voice - that is why he remains for me and his audience a legend.