If Tom Jones’ peepers were a watery shade of blue, his butt wiggles less thrusting and provocative and his vocal chords not so perfectly powerful, he might have remained in some Welsh valley singing down the working men’s club every weekend for a few quid and a pint.
But God was on his side back in 1940 and and Jones deigned to follow in his coal miner father’s footsteps, instead choosing music and to search out the limelight.
His first band, Tommy Scott and The Senators, had a bit of a name for themselves in 1963, but when he released debut album Along Came Jones two years later, recognition came thanks to It’s Not Unusual, an easy-listening track and his second single which went to number one in the UK and closed his Luna Park show. In 1965 he also released What’s New Pussycat, which also made it onto the set list.
With his bushy white hair — no mean feat to have a headful at 69 — and bushy white beard, Jones wasn’t physically so different to the God he thanked for giving him his voice, or indeed to actor Morgan Freeman, according to Welsh Elvis fan Fiona.
Smart in a leather jacket, Mr Jones definitely does not look his age and kicked off the night, accompanied by his 10-piece band, with the Bono-scribed song Sugar Daddy from latest album 24 Hours (2008).
Although his teeth are a bit day-glo and slightly offputting, Jones is so bloody happy and revelling in his performance that a close relationship with his dentist can be ignored.
Give A Little Love was followed up by a stupendous third track of the night Thunderball (1966), theme to the James Bond film. Wow, it was heaven to hear 007 live and barely warmed up, Jones was in full belting-them-out force.
First pelvic thrust of the night came at track four with In Style And Rhythm, also from 24 Hours, and Jones included funk (Hard To Handle), country (Green Green Grass of Home, 1966), easy listening dance (She’s A Lady, 1971) and rocky pop (Mama Told Me Not To Come, 2000) in the 25-strong set, keeping the generations happy.
First ovation of the night came at the half-way point with his beautiful acoustic version of ballad I’ll Never Fall in Love Again but it didn’t stop there. Once the country section was over, Leave Your Hat On, Sex Bomb and Kiss kept the packed auditorium on its feet, roaring full approval although fortunately the ladies in the audience remembered it was 2010 and refrained from throwing underwear as if it were 1967.
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