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....................... ...........2004
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Tom Jones
Rocking the USA!


 

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      Opening a sold-out four-night stand at the Fillmore in San Francisco Tom Jones the 64- year-old Welsh singer showed all the vocal virility and finesse that first shot him to fame more than 40 years ago. At an age when most folks are contemplating retirement, he's still pushing and rocking away with old and new songs that keep his fans dancing all night long. Tom Jones still has a superb voice with some slinky moves to perform so superbly, his hips don't swing with as much swivel but his sexuality arrives with the same glimmer. Dressed in perilously tight trousers with a goatee and puff of black hair on top of his head moving around the stage dodging women’s panties thrown wildly through the show. What is uncommon is for him to perform in small venues on tour around. More commonly, you'll find Jones amid the Vegas-type  places like the Westbury Music Fair. But for his latest tour, he's going back to smaller, more credible places like San Francisco's Fillmore venue. The setting meant that the mainly middle-aged audience had to stand for the performance, but few seemed to mind. Jones performed a balanced mix of lounge-pop '60s hits and less-expected numbers with ease. He added new arrangements to some pieces to keep things up to date.In songs like the blues "Who Will the Next Fool Be?" he hurled the notes with an operatic bellow that never obscured his underlying vulnerability. He was amazingly focused on the music, his timing impeccable, and his showmanship superb. And, yes, he played all the hits: the above-mentioned "Pussycat?" "Delilah," "Help Yourself," "She's a Lady," "Green, Green Grass of Home." He the spent night gyrating through an increasingly curious set list, And he updated Bob Seger's "We've Got Tonight" with a hip-hop beat. At one point, he even rapped. A lean remake of Howlin' Wolf's "300 Pounds of Joy" (remade to weigh in at no more than "200 Pounds of Joy"), and closing the encore with his bump-and-grind version of Prince's "Kiss."

 

By Randy Cohen

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