May 28th, 2005 | By TomJones
Tom Comes Home – South Wales Echo Review: Jo Manning Las Vegas! Hollywood! Ponty Park? There’s only one person who could connect all three of those places – and that’s Tom Jones. Having been around the world and sampled the kind of life the rest of us can only dream of for more than 40 years. The Voice was back performing in his home town at the weekend and it meant an awful lot to everyone there – even Tom himself. I spotted the singer striding from his backstage paddock to the stage just minutes before he was due on and Tom – the consummate cool-as-a-cucumber performer – actually looked nervous. But once the man hit the stage and started belting out hit after hit for his inflatable daffodil-wielding, knicker-throwing, Welsh flag waving fans, it was business as usual. And what a business. Tom may be 64 years old (65 later this week actually) but he’s still got a wicked wiggle to go with those fantastic pipes. And it wasn’t just those who paid who enjoyed Tom. The hills surrounding the park were packed with his fans, and they looked like something out of Braveheart as they gazed down on the 20,000-plus throng. Backed by a tight eight-piece band and backing singers, Tom played his greatest hits with his usual amount of gusto and good humour. The highlights depended on which were your favourite, but I adore the overblown ballads like (It Looks Like) I’ll Never Fall in Love Again and A Boy From Nowhere which allowed Tom to show off that voice. The kitsch Kiss and You Can Leave Your Hat On were also great moments. Soprano Katherine Jenkins even joined Tom at the end of It’s Not Unusual for some trilling and a special rendition of Happy Birthday for the local boy. But no-one could deny the emotion when he – and the crowd – sang Green, Green Grass of Home at the tops of their voices, backed by images of his Valleys home on gigantic screens.