DAYTONA BEACH -- Two types of women's panties flew at singer Tom Jones during his sold-out concert Tuesday night at Peabody Auditorium: sexy, sheer thongs the width of spaghetti, and a few granny panties the size of Nebraska. Which ones did the 1960s-spawned pop crooner deserve? For most of the night -- those thongs, though a few songs earned him those un-sexy bloomers. Back when the Beatles were changing the face of music and Elvis was shape-shifting into a dough-boyish crooner, Jones carved himself a niche as a sex symbol with a voice that was the crooner version of heavy metal -- a voice that could melt Barbie dolls at 50 paces. Amazingly, Jones' voice can still melt Barbies at 20 paces. But that's not always a good thing. Just like in his '60s heyday, the switch on Jones' power croon has two positions: off and 8,756 degrees. As it happens, Jones' flame-thrower voice was -- and is -- the perfect, magnificent tool for all those goofy, ridiculous, fun, bombastic, vaguely cabaret-like hits he wheeled out Tuesday: "What's New Pussycat?," "Delilah," "She's a Lady," "You Can Leave Your Hat On" and his signature theme, "It's Not Unusual." Clad in a purple suit with a gaudy silver cross on a necklace that out-blinged the rappers, Jones also scored when he turned on the thrusters on a rap version of "Resurrection Shuffle" and a surprisingly funky version of Prince's "Kiss."
But the vocal heat was incongruous and ineffective on a rocking Jerry Lee Lewis song and the blues song "If the Truth Be Told."
But never mind those missteps. Even the ever-grinning Jones seemed to realize those were necessary just to get him and his 11-piece band to the fun parts like "Pussycat" and his rousing 1990s club hit, "Sex Bomb."
And yes, that song was appropriate. After all, Jones busted many a move to thrill the giddy, panty-tossing ladies, many of them of the same generation as the 67-year-old singer. Yes, it was a bit campy when Jones smiled impishly and ran his hands outside his purple pants and south of his equator. And yes, his tongue was partly in his cheek.
But a good time was had by all, including those ladies who playfully threw those big bloomers at their idol, and were rewarded with a shimmy shake and some raised eyebrows from the Man -- their Man. Jones was mostly the bomb, in a good sense, this night.
Jones can still thrill the ladies By RICK de YAMPERT Entertainment Writer firstname.lastname@example.org