Jones pure delight in sold-out Kirby show

Tom JonesHe delivered more pelvis than Elvis. His elocution possessed more pomp than Prince. His stage antics, at times, surpassed those of that world-famous rapscallion Jerry Lee Lewis. And although he performed the music of all the above-mentioned artists Sunday night, it was pure Tom Jones during the wild Welshman's sold-out performance at the F.M. Kirby Center — his second in five years. Performing crowd favorites like "She's a Lady," "Thunderball" and "What's New Pussycat," Mr. Jones perhaps proved why he was named a Knight of the Realm by Britain in January, joining the ranks of pop rock knights like Sir Paul McCartney, Sir Mick Jagger and Sir Elton John. Clad in a fetching black suit with a touch of silver bling at his very open neck, the 65-year-old, big-voiced crooner brought down the proverbial Kirby Center house with his vast repertoire, singing a gamut of music ranging from New Orleans jazz to rap, '50s rock 'n' roll to modern day R&B. And as he volleyed back and forth between decades and genres, the audience rode right along with him, at times singing louder than he during ballads like "Delilah" and "Green, Green Grass of Home." The crowd, in the meantime, proved as eclectic as his song list. While senior citizens were out in full force, so were 20- and 30-something women out for a night with the girls. Couples were also duly represented. After all, it was only 48 hours before Valentine's Day, and what could be more romantic than a night shared with Tom Jones? Although many women swooned while he crooned, the men in the audience heckled and cat-called just as much. In fact, one gent even tossed a pair of his own tighty-whities on stage. "You've always got to be careful," Mr. Jones warned the audience while pointing to his throat. "You must always check for an Adam's apple." The stage setting itself proved simple but the light show complex. It greatly complemented the extremely talented eight-piece band and trio of back-up singers who provided an energy that could only be matched by Mr. Jones. "It's great to be back once again ... in Wilkes-Barre .... Pennsylvania ... in the cold," he winked to the audience. One enthusiastic fan even brought a Tupperware container filled with — what else — Welsh cookies to the stage. "Just like me mum used to make," he said as he thanked them before launching into yet another high energy number. Closing with an encore of KISS, Mr. Jones brought the house to its feet with patrons exiting into a cold, February night warmed on the inside from such an incredible performance. We all know Ponce De Leon never found his Fountain of Youth. Perhaps he should've looked for it in a pair of flying panties — it seems to have worked for Tom Jones. Wendy Wilson Butler The Times-Tribune, PA