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Tom Jones at the MEN

Tom Jones played to a packed out MEN arena on Friday night, and proved that the old ones really are the best…

Published on October 16th 2006.

Tom Jones at the MEN

I would officially like Tom Jones to be my best friend. Although, after Friday night’s performance I’m in no doubt that I’m never going to be cool enough. No words can describe the legend that is this man, still rocking and reinventing at the grand old age of 107 (or thereabouts).

Clad, not in a spangly bolero as the ladies in our group had hoped, but in a snazzy purple suit and sporting a goatee, Tom was the sole cause of a dangerous rise in blood pressure in 15,000 middle aged women on Friday night when he played to a screaming crowd at the MEN Arena.

In one evening Tom Jones showcased five decades of hits, and proved that he is a genius of reinvention, and the cheesiest man on the planet. Tom Jones is so cheesy that he’s cool. If he was a type of cheese, he’d be one of those Cheese Strings that all the trendy kids with skateboards and spiky hair eat.

Accompanied by a trio of soulful backing singers and some lively brass musicians, Tom delighted the crowd with a mixture of old and new tracks, with all of the classics interspersed with more recent offerings.

The crowd swayed to ‘Delilah’, boogied to ‘It’s Not Unusual’ and woo-ooo-ooo-ed to ‘What’s new Pussycat’, before Tom pulled out all the stops with ‘Mama Told me not to Come’ and his latest single ‘Stoned in Love’ – a collaboration with Dance group Chicane. A pensioner high kicking and swaggering jauntily around the stage singing vocals to a dance track should in theory have been pretty uncomfortable, but Tom somehow gets away with it.

Included in his set were a few covers, which proved that Tom Jones can turn his hand (and his voice) to just about anything. Fantastic interpretations of ‘Fly me to the Moon’ and the Bill Withers classic ‘Grandma’s Hands’ were followed by the extremely brave decision to cover the Bodyrockers’ ‘I Like the Way you Move’. Yes, really.

I must admit to nearly having to hide under my seat when I realised what Tom was doing. ‘I like the way you look at me with those beautiful eyes’ he crooned. ‘I like the way you act all surprised…’. I wanted to run onto the stage and create a diversion just to save him from the embarrassment. But then he broke into the chorus and something incredible happened. ‘I like the way you mooo-ove!’ he belted out, in the way that only he of the eternal suntan can. This was actually pretty good. Brave - nearly foolish - but actually a stroke of bloody brilliance.

For the finale Tom chose a return to the classics, ending with the ever popular ‘Kiss’ and whipping the crowd up into a frenzy before sauntering offstage where he probably had a hot tub of beautiful babes waiting for him. Or maybe just a nice cup of tea and a pair of slippers. Either way - Tom, we salute you. This was an excellent evening of unadulterated cheese and high kicking dance moves, that proved that the old ones really are the best.

Jayne Robinson
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