Tom Jones opened his set Tuesday night at the House of Blues with “I’m Alive” from his latest studio recording, 24 Hours. No one in the sold out audience needed a reminder. The tension had been building since early in the evening, and when Jones took the stage, the crowd erupted.
From the moment the spotlight hit him, Tom Jones had everyone in the room in the palm of his hand, but that should come as no surprise. In a career that has spanned five decades, Jones perfected his craft long ago. But while some performers might be content to rely on the hits of their early career, Jones has managed to remain current, hip even, by continually stretching as an artist. He still writes new material, covers popular hits and adds his own style to them, and collaborates with other top artists and producers. For example, “Sugar Daddy” from 24 Hours was co-written with Bono and The Edge of U2.
More about Tom, projectile panties and a pleasant surprise; just follow me past the jump…
Jones’ show includes the hits that everyone is there to hear. “What’s New Pussycat?,” “Delilah,” Green, Green, Grass Of Home,” “She’s A Lady,” and of course, “It’s Not Unusual.” Along with those standards he mixed in several of the tracks from the new album, as well as covers of Randy Newman’s “Leave Your Hat On” and Prince’s “Kiss.” The tempo slowed a bit toward the middle of the set as Jones, accompanied by musical director Brian Monroney on an acoustic guitar, sat on a stool for a couple of ballads and blues, but the energy remained high throughout.
I don’t know when or how the tradition began, but it is common practice for women to throw their undergarments at Tom Jones. A lot of women. Evidence of these offerings can be seen in the picture at the right. In fact, as I stood in front of the stage to shoot photos, one of the earliest projectiles (a hot pink thong, I believe,) glanced off the top of my head and landed on the stage at Tom’s feet. Throughout the show the panties piled up until toward the end I thought Tom would trip on the piles of cotton and silk.
Here’s the thing. Tom Jones is 68 years old. At an age when mortal men are shuffling around their golden years enjoying their retirement, Jones is still tearing it up like a man half his age. His voice is as strong as it’s ever been, he’s in great shape, and he clearly has sex appeal to spare. Women half is age, hell, one-third his age, were screaming like ‘tweens at a Jonas Brothers concert.
By the way, that pleasant surprise I mentioned came in the form of the support act on this show. Originally from New Orleans, now based here in southern California, Linnzi Zaorski sings jazz in a ’30s swing style, and between songs she engages the audience with a charming personality. And, as professionals such as myself like to say, she’s easy on the eyes. You can listen to her music and see upcoming dates at her MySpace page, and buy her CDs at CDBaby.
40+ years on, Tom Jones is still one of the best live performers out there. Long-time followers continually go back for more (I’ve seen him 3 times,) and those seeing him for the first time leave the show as avowed fans. For instance, my friend Ted called me three times the following day, just to tell me again what a great time he had. If you’ve never seen Tom Jones, you’ve got to see him the next time he comes to town. You won’t be disappointed. I’ve never seen Jones in Las Vegas, so I’m thinking of going out to see him again this summer. Anyone up for a MetBlogs road trip?