At about the same time, in real time, Tom Jones began his concert at the same arena, perhaps as far as one can get from the reality infants taking their first steps on the television screen with a microphone in their hand.
One can easily fall into the amusing talkbacks' cliché about "the old man arriving in Israel way after retiring" or "another elderly person coming here once he runs out of money." But these pretty miserable reactions fade away the moment Tom Jones opens his mouth on stage.
At the age of 73, Tom Jones' deep voice is still at its best. He doesn’t skip a single note, dances, laughs with the audience, and mainly appears to give his fans what they want. A real show.
Jones was joined by about 10 musicians and backup singers. The entire orchestra, as one (including Jones himself), came to work and to conquer the audience at Nokia Arena.
Tom Jones at Nokia Arena. As far as one can get from reality infants (Photos: Yaron Brener)
As a veteran artist with such an impressive repertoire, Jones knows that the audience has come to hear his greatest hits, and so he seldom performed songs from his new album, "Spirit in the Room." One of the only new songs he did perform was "Tower of Song," a cover version of Leonard Cohen's beautiful song, which receives an interesting and almost spiritual interpretation from Jones.
Excellent orchestra and real show
But he mostly gave the audience a taste of his string of big hits, including the eternal "Delilah," the huge "Sex Bomb," the veteran "It's not Unusual," which basically started it all, as Jones said on stage, "Green Green Grass of Home" from the 1960s, "Kiss," "She's a Lady," and many others.
Performed all his famous hits
Sounds better in Yiddish
But the highlight, beyond a shadow of a doubt, was the easiest trick Jones could have pulled on the audience. And what can I say – it worked. In the middle of the concert he burst into an English version of "My Yiddishe Momme."
Although he's not exactly from the Diaspora, he appeared to have connected quite well to the words he sang in English and almost wept on stage. The tears wiped away by the audience around us at the sound of his bigger-than-life voice in this performance, served as proof that he hit the nail right on the head.
Rihanna who? Jones captures the audience
And back to the "old man": In a heart moving way, and contrary to many others – even to Jones himself in different periods in his life – he does not deny his age.
"I was born in 1940," he tells the audience proudly. "In my previous visit to Israel my hair was black," he recalls, "but at a certain age it becomes embarrassing to dye it," he says sincerely.
Even when he forgets the show's next song, which happened once during the concert, he laughs about it, along with the audience and musicians. There is no doubt, he is an example of a person ageing respectfully and who is not past his prime, big time.
At the age of 73, and there's no shame in mentioning it again (after the respectable manner in which Jones himself referred to his age and the great respect he received from the audience), this huge star managed to bring to the stage the 1960s, the 1970s and the following decades, in a performance which did not require changing outfits, as many joked Saturday night, referring the Rihanna concert fiasco four days earlier.
A singer with an excellent voice, a wonderful orchestra, a full performance, and above all – great respect for the audience. All these are enough to make everyone leave the auditorium wishing for more, and with a huge smile on their face.
If you've had any doubts and have yet to purchase a ticket for his next concert on Monday – don't think twice.