Review by Stuart Derdeyn
Photography by Rodney Gitzel
With a better house than the Sex Pistols pulled in, the Welsh crooner's solid set of timeless classics and expertly chosen contemporary covers -- by now everybody knows Jones' purrfect version of symbol man's "Kiss" and Lenny Kravitz' "Are You Gonna Go My Way," but the Wolfgang Press cover was a hell of a surprise. To everyone but Tom, that is. At a time when his ol' London counterparts are sucking in the nineties playing greatest hits tours, Tom Jones, for better or worse, still has the blue-rinsers soaking their Depends during "What's New Pussycat?" while a whole new generation of cocktail nation nymphettes toss their g-strings on stage during "Kiss."
Why? Smart management and an artist with talent to burn tend to always triumph over re-hashing the past. That, plus Tom was always associated with an older thang, so now he seems a bundle of energy compared to his older peers. Bumpin', grindin' and pulling all the classic stops: dramatic pauses, pleading oh-baby-please's, wiping the sweat from the brow, praying to the mic. Mr. Jones has got a rhythm in his walk -- as well as absolute knowledge of how goofy so much of what he does is. Dropping his zipper and singing "what I need is your kiss," Jones was both rude and ridiculous, and infinitely less sexist than ninety-percent of the tattooed young punk-starts on stages today.
And can the man still sing? Hell yeah!
The legendary voice just blew out the house, overpowered the band and stunned me with its range, strength and ability to hold notes over sixteen, twenty-four, even thirty-two bars. Soulful and controlled, Tom makes Mick Jagger and Robert Plant sound like old hippies who did too many drugs.
Jones also lost no time in showing off his body-by-Jake form either. It's funny how only old European poon-daddies can pull off the all-black, slim-tailored suit look without coming across like total doofuses. Tom flexed his huge arms and the ladies (and the boys who threw their undies on stage, too) threw conniptions. My date even grabbed my hand hard, in that way usually reserved for when Anthony Banderas or that Lone Star/A Time to Kill farmboy hits the screen. Talk about sex appeal -- Jones is in his late fifties and still sports that permed hair (or is that a wig?).
Still, the appeal wore off during the considerable number of soppy ballads which had me squirming in boredom. But then Jones would whip out an old soul standard like "Can't Stop Loving You Baby" or classic show-stoppers like "Delilah" or "It's Not Unusual," rocketing us back into the show with a bullet.
Man, he must kick some serious butt at Caesar's Palace. A better bang for the buck than almost any other PNE show delivered! Catch Tom next time he thrusts his hips through town. Wear your finest and, please, bring extra panties -- the blond woman who actually took hers off before throwing them on stage broke with decorum in a big way. Yuck!
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