• Video: Tom Jones ready to shine at McLean Park this weekend

Video: Tom Jones ready to shine at McLean Park this weekend

McLean park is set to make history this Saturday as it hosts its first-ever international concert in its 120 plus years as a sports ground, with the legendary Sir Tom Jones set to hit the stage with support from Gin Wigmore and New Zealand supergroup The Magnificent Seven.

But why has it taken so long for Napier's premier stadium to become a concert venue, and what does the future look like for gigs at McLean Park? Hawke's Bay App chatted to Kevin Murphy, Event Manager at Napier City Council, to find out.

"Over the last few years McLean Park has really wanted to widen the opportunities of what we've got with events, and so back in 2022 we held our first concert since 1984," says Murphy.

"By doing that we sort of opened the door to other opportunities and this one with Tom Jones is the first international act we've had. We're really excited to be able to do this for the first time... In the past the park has not really been seen as a true opportunity from a concert venue point of view, but we now see it as a viable option and we're talking to promoters all the time now about future opportunities."

But what do these future opportunities look like? Murphy says it's a bit of a black art, especially identifying acts that are suitable for a rural New Zealand audience and who are also touring.

"That's our challenge, I suppose. To connect with a promoter that has the right artist and the right tour to suit other content that we have going on in the park. So it's a big jigsaw puzzle to be honest... Our plan in the future is to try and do one concert a year and that may be dependent on tour runs and opportunities."

So who is going to be in the crowd at the show this Saturday? Will it all be the Te Awanga Tom Jones fan club or can we expect a gaggle out of towners coming in for the Welsh sex bomb's only New Zealand show?

"We're expecting 10,000 people, now 85% of those are from out of town which is quite a high proportion for any concert. From the Council's point of view we're really wanting to add vibrancy to the city with visitors and people spending money."

What can be expected at the show this Saturday? The gates open at 5 pm and the Magnificent Seven, which features Th' Dudes' Peter Urlich, The Exponent's Jordan Luck and Split Enz's Eddy Rayner, will take the stage first by belting out undeniable 80s classics. Then, Gin Wigmore will then grace the stage with her distinctive voice, followed by the legend Sir Tom hitting the stage at about 8 pm.

"This may be the last opportunity to see Tom on stage," suggests Murphy. "He is getting a bit older now, so we're really excited to be able to have that act here for us in Napier."

Last year the Welsh Rugby Union removed Sir Tom's 1968 hit Delilah from its Principality Stadium choirs' song list, due to its lyrics about a jealous lover stabbing his unfaithful paramour. Can attendees still expect to belt out one of the smooth crooners classics?

"I'm sure that Delilah will be on the setlist," reassures Murphy.

So what should you bring if you are heading to McLean Park this Saturday evening? Murphy wants to remind you to read the terms and conditions sent to ticket holders  by Ticketmaster.

"There's no backpacks allowed, so when people do come into the concert, they can carry a bag and we know the evenings are getting a bit cooler, so people will be bring rugs and jackets and that, but they should have a look at the terms and conditions... and then just be aware of the two entrances on Latham Street."

"There are plenty of car parks in the streets like we tend to see with every sort of event that happens at McLean Park. So just be aware of the environment and how you're best to get into the venue and give yourself plenty of time." 

Tickets are still available through Ticketmaster