After a delay of six months. the Principality Stadium was full of thousands of fans ready to lap up the performances of two huge Welsh music legends performing under one roof and, in a crowd-pleasing moment, together. Tom Jones and Stereophonics were joined by newbies Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard, who performed an intimate set in the 74,000 plus capacity stadium, while Newport’s Feeder did a very good job of getting the crowd going and gave a glimpse of the show to come with impressive stage lighting.
Next was the legend himself, Sir Tom Jones, who despite starting off his set with I’m Growing Old, proved that at the age of 82 he could still put on an amazing show. He welcomed the crowd by saying: “I must say it’s great to be home” and after performing Not Dark Yet he thanked the crowd in Welsh.
READ MORE: The best gigs Stereophonics have played in Cardiff as band returns to city with Sir Tom Jones
He soon had everybody dancing with classics, It’s Not Unusual and What’s New Pussycat, as the crowd chanted back at him unprompted. He reeled out all the tunes we all wanted to hear, Sex Bomb, Green Green Grass of Home, Kiss and Tower of Song, and even managed to poke fun at his age.
Not that there was anything to joke about, at 82 he was still boogying away on stage, providing great commentary between songs and hitting those notes that only Sir Tom can. He truly is a legend in the music world, with his impressive career spanning decades, and his set of an hour and 45 minutes only proved that. There’s no half measures for this Ponty boy.
At this point it was easy to believe that the gig couldn’t get any better, after Tom’s set, but Stereophonics were there to raise the roof even higher. But not literally as the roof was closed for this gig, and will be on Saturday, you can read more about that here.
But those lighting fixtures on the roof come into their own during the Stereophonics headlining set. But first up though, we were treated to a male choir who were a surprise as they were not on the original bill.
They started off with We’ll Keep A Welcome in the Hillside and then really raised the game with a beautiful rendition of the national anthem and soon the Principality Stadium was filled with the chorus of Mae Hen Wlad fy Nhadau. This was a special moment for a gig that centred on Welsh music and culture and a lovely touch by the Stereophonics.
Then the main men kicked off their set with C’est La Vie, which the crowd lapped up. Everyone was on their feet dancing, amazing colourful lights spun over the audience and blue lasers shot out.
They welcomed their set by telling the crowd: “It’s great to be back in this wonderful country called Wales” and wow, they welcome the crowd. There were very impressive guitar solos during Do Ya Feel My Love? by frontman Kelly Jones and then an amazing moment when Kelly and saxophone player Gavin Fitzjohn walk up the runway that leads to a smaller stage in the crowd, ensuring they get amongst as much of the crowd as possible.
This strut during Geronimo elevated their performance and it was as if in that moment they owned the Principality, which on this night they did. I Wouldn’t Believe Your Radio and Maybe Tomorrow really resonated with the crowd as everybody sang along.
The band performed Leave The Light On and other earlier songs on the smaller stage in the middle of the ground before heading back to the big stage to bring Tom back out. Of course they performed a crowd pleaser, with their cover of Mamma Told Me (Not to Come) and it really was incredible to see the two Welsh music greats perform together.
Other songs on their setlist included Mr and Mrs Smith, which had a very impressive drum solo from drummer Jamie Morrison, accompanied by sparklers shooting into the air. Thousand Trees had everyone cheering and clapping as did Handbags and Gladrags.
Finishing their set with the beloved Have A Nice Day and Bartender and the Thief, the crowd werefirmly under their spell and I’m sure many were transported back 25 years to when the ‘Phonics released their debut album, Word Gets Around. There was fire shooting up into the air, there were sparklers, the band was giving it their all and there were thousands and thousands of people having an amazing time.
They came back on for an encore and Kelly Jones sweetly told the story of how when he was 14 he went to see Rolling Stones at Cardiff Arms Park and now he was here, in the Principality Stadium playing his own gig with his own band. He finished the night by saying “dreams really do come true” before launching into an incredible performance of Dakota.
Desperate not to leave the crowd were singing Welsh football song “please don’t take me home” as they left the stadium, with many heading out to a night of fun in the capital. What a gig from two iconic Welsh music legends, from slightly different eras and aimed at different crowds, but bringing everyone together under one roof to celebrate the love of good music-whatever your age.
The Stereophonics and Sir Tom will be back tomorrow night, Saturday, June 18 with Gruff Rhys and Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard, too.