Thu Jul 31 1997
Westbury Music Fair;
Thursday, July 31 and Friday, August 1
The principal product of Wales is Tom Jones, who has been seducing millions of women with his bedroom eyes and big, hot, throbbing voice since 1964. His two signature tunes are the upbeat tragedy "It's Not Unusual" and Bacharach/David's bizzare movie theme "What's New, Pussycat?" But it's the amazing "Delilah," a steamy opera of adultery and knife murder, that makes him forever cool.
Mr. Jones has his surreal aspects--Welsh country and western music; an 18th--century ponytail on a 20th--century stud; singing with the Art of Noise on a cover of Prince's "Kiss"; his theme for the James Bond movie Thunderball--but it's his status as a Vegas icon comparable to Elvis Presley that pays his rent. Tom Jones put the gas in Vegas and the bare in cabaret (and the B in ABC, his early-'70s TV program) with his action-packed show of songs, anecdotes and ridiculous sexual innuendo.
Although everyone sings along, it's not about the music. Women bring their underwear and bras to throw onstage at him. He rubs the garments on his face and bare hairy chest, which are covered in perspiration, and throws them back. Many women also throw keys, supposedly to their hotel rooms, to this 57-year-old guy who still has a hit record every few years. It's a sort of Beatlemania for the middle-aged, except that everyone involved is joking. Or pretending to be.