HOW many singers has this planet known with a voice that transcends understanding in a manner that encompasses so many genres? I’ll tell you. One. His name? Tom Jones.

From Blues to Gospel, from Rock ‘n’ Roll to modern classics, from Soul to Country and from Pop to Spirituals, Jones has the voice, which since his first No 1, It’s Not Unusual, in 1964, has lit up the world with hit after hit, writes Paul Thomas.

And on the penultimate night of this year’s Hampton Court Palace Festival, he gave it his all and gave us everything.

Jones is ‘The Voice’ and has been for 53 years.

Friday night was not just a gig, this was entertainment of the highest order from a master craftsman who simply ripped up the rule book.

From the moment he walked on stage he had the sell-out audience in the palm of his hand, whether they were devotees – there were enough of us there – or those who wanted to see this amazing vocal performer because of his undoubted and deserved fame.

The man from the Welsh mining village of Tonypandy is a singer whose larynx are still capable of hitting notes at the tender age of 78 most of us would kill for.

Burning Hell (I’m going down to the crossroads, with no devil will I make a deal – the homage, hard Blues number to Robert Johnson) was so deep in resonance it almost shook the seats with vibration. But it was sense of soul and undoubted unbridled love for singing which lights him up – because you can hear his true admiration, passion and pure joy of vocalising his favourite songs that makes you happy – and isn’t that what music should be about? Emotional pleasure.

Run On followed suit before, Mama Told Me Not to Come, which was a 90s hit with the Stereophonics, off his most successful album Reload (an outing of duets with bands and solo artists, including Robbie Williams).

The Spiritual, My God Did Trouble Me, was another departure before a rockin’ Ruckus and the enormously successful Sex Bomb.

Getting into gear, Shake was another crowd pleaser before the more soulful Take My Love and Cry To Me, before Motherless Child, again off Reload that he did then with Portishead, was a powerful rendition of the Negro slave spiritual from the 1860s before a slightly different Delilah hove into view. This was treated with a semi-Latin, Bosa Nova feel with accordion and slight French tinge without losing any of its pathos or power, and had the crowd singing every word.

Soul of a Man and Tower of Song followed, before a typically sincere rendition of Green, Gren Grass, and the playful Burt Bacharach hit which conquered America – What’s New Pussycat?. It’s Not Unusual, a song given to him after he did the demo for Sandie Shaw and set him on the road to super stardom was again in the Latino groove and again did not lose any of its originality before his solo choice of his duet with ‘The Robster’, You Can Keep Your Hat On from The Full Monty. If I Only Knew and I Wish You Would wound down as the finale, but something special was coming in the encore, a quite beautiful take on Louis Armstrong’s Wonderful World, before an homage to the late, great Prince, Kiss, and a belting rock number Strange Things.

A good night? No. A great night. It was a privilege to be there.

There’s no other singer in the world who can do songs justice like Jones, there’s no one like him. They broke the mold with his voice and those who were lucky enough to witness it in the palace courtyard got the summer sensation they will never forget.

If you are lucky enough to get tickets, Jones is playing Englefield Hall, Reading on July 8. Unusual? Yes. Why? He can sing anything, any way, any time.

Who else can do that?