Tom Jones and Charley Macauley raise the roof at Osborne House

Osborne House Concerts 2014 review

By Steve Collins / Marie Magowan | Published: Tue 29th Jul 2014

Tom Jones & Little Mix at Osborne H.. 2014 - Tom Jones
Photo credit: Steve Collins

Tom Jones & Little Mix at Osborne House 2014

Saturday 26th to Sunday 27th July 2014
Osborne House, East Cowes, Isle of Wight, PO32 6JX, England MAP
£60 for the weekend, £32.50 Saturday, £42.50 Sunday
Daily capacity: 10,000

Arriving to the site on Sunday we were presented with an arena filled with bubbles,and in amongst the picnics happy children chased them down - I'm sure more than one drink had a taste of soap in it. The bubbles in question were supplied by half a dozen people with various net and fishing rod-like contraptions that dispensed plenty of bubbles to the waiting children (and a couple of adults too!).

Tonight's audience was a noticeable contrast to the previous night's audience - whereas Little Mix gathered a crowd of mainly teen and pre-teen children accompanied by bored looking parents, Tonight's headliner had brought a more mature audience, and while there were some children, there were very few teenagers.

Tonight's line-up included two support acts, first was Isle of Wight musician Joe Gladdis. I can't say I was that gripped by him - I'm sure Joe was probably trying for intensity and emotion, but a general lack of engagement with the audience and a quiet vocal gave you the impression that he was as bored of his introspective indie-pop as I was.

By contrast Charley Macauley was the epitome of excitement, almost running as she came out onto the stage; she quickly won the crowd over with her bubbly exuberance. Despite being a fairly small person, Charley has a real powerhouse of a voice, and can belt out a tune, but can also rein it in and sing with a restrained passion when needed. Supported by a large band which included a brass section, backing singers as well as the core band, the result was some of the finest Acid Jazz and funk since the Brand New Heavies.

It could be accurately said that Tom Jones kept the audience waiting for a long time before taking to the stage, going far beyond the usual 10 to 15 minutes fashionably late, making the audience wait for two years to see him. In his defence he had to cancel a planned 2012 show two days before due to Laryngitis (although during the show he put the cancellation down to torrential rain - apparently confusing this show with his appearance at a very wet IW Festival in 2011), and Osborne House took a rest in 2013.

Tom is one of those few people for whom the term 'national treasure' can be accurately applied. With a career spanning over half a century, he has taken in a variety of musical styles while still managing to retain a core style centred round one of the most powerful voices in the industry. From the Vegas lounge singer, the pop and rock of the 90s and 00s through to his more recent reinvention as a blues singer the voice is the thing that has carried him through - probably making his appearance on the TV show of the same name highly apt.

Arriving on stage in a haze of guitars for a raw and passionate 'Burning Hell'- Tom was here to show that tonight wasn't going to be a gentle show to sit back and enjoy, but a performance that you could engage in, even when he dipped back into his Vegas-era music such as 'Delilah' and 'Green, Green Grass of Home' the tunes seemed to still carry the raw power of the more recent work - and through it all that voice linking everything together. Although he played for almost two hours, I could have listened to him all night - certainly worth the two year wait.

review by: Steve Collins / Marie Magowan

photos by: Steve Collins

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