Not Just The Old Bump and Grind

Tom JonesTom Jones showed a wide range at Nokia Theatre at Grand Prairie on Thursday night. GRAND PRAIRIE -- If you want to think of Tom Jones primarily as the guy in tight pants who sang cheesy songs amid a blizzard of female undergarments, that's fine. But I don't. True, last night, Jones, 66, trotted out the old bump and grind to a large, mainly female audience at Nokia Theatre. And true, the women still went crazy when he swiveled his hips and sang pap like Delilah. But now that Jones is a little rounder in the middle and thinner on top than in his heyday, it's easier than ever to appreciate his ability as a singer and his wide musical palette. Following the blueprint of his career, Jones' show included a laudable array of styles from the straight-ahead country of Charlie Rich's Who Will the Next Fool Be? to a funky take on Randy Newman's Mama Told Me (Not to Come). Clad in a purple suit and with a mustache and goatee, Jones hit the stage just after 9 p.m. with Tom Jones International, a canny slice of modern dance pop. Backed by a 10-person band that included a four-man horn section, Jones sang everything well, and, unlike many aging singers, performed full versions of old nuggets such as Delilah, She's a Lady and Help Yourself instead of shoehorning the standbys into medleys. Jones also offered up recent dance-oriented favorites including If I Only Knew and his current European hit, Stoned in Love. Tower of Power opened the evening with an excellent 45-minute set that drew almost exclusively from records released in the '70s that defined the band's horn-powered, jazz/R&B/soul sound. The band, currently with 10 members, powered through classics such What Is Hip? and You're Still a Young Man.