Did you notice that cloud of steam rising from downtown Monday evening? That would have been the heat wave stirred up by Tom Jones, who proved once and for all at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center that "bringing sexy back" is for the youngsters: He never lost it, thanks very much. The pants might not be quite as tight as they were during his '60s and '70s heyday – Mr. Jones spent most of the evening demurely clad in a simple black suit, with just a hint of a sparkly shirt and silver chains peeking out. And a mere two pairs of ladies' ... erm, undergarments ... were tossed onto the stage.
But Mr. Jones' blistering Welsh baritone is still strong, and when he brought the suggestive moves late in the concert, the sold-out audience of nearly 2,100 came to its feet and matched him hip-swivel for hip-swivel.
His ultrasultry version of "You Can Leave Your Hat On" – yeah, I know it's hard to do that song and not sound sexy, but trust me, he took it to a new level – which he recorded for the movie The Full Monty, brought wails and sighs from the women in the audience.
There's a line in Chicago that pretty much sums up the feeling Monday, when Roxy says, "I love the audience, and they love me, and I love them for lovin' me, and we all looooove each other." Love was definitely in the Meyerson house.
Humor, too: At 67, Mr. Jones is smart enough to take himself lightly, and it showed in every impish grin and gesture. When he sang "What's New Pussycat?" his expressions let on that he knows quite well how silly the song is, but he had fun with it anyway, and hence, so did we.
Fun was the order of the night, really, starting with the psychedelic light show during the opening "Raise Your Hand," and continuing with the dare-you-not-to-chair-dance "Help Yourself." A little later, during "Delilah," daisy lights moved up and down the Meyerson walls, giving it a groovy hippie vibe that was a bit like the set from Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In.
Mr. Jones turned serious, and a little bit country, for a mournful, wrenching rendition of George Jones' "He Stopped Loving Her Today," and his slow, bluesy take on Frank Sinatra's "Here's That Rainy Day" actually showed off his voice better than the upbeat pop numbers for which he's best known.
He didn't disappoint with those, either: "Grandma's Hands," "The Green, Green Grass of Home" and, of course, "She's a Lady" and "It's Not Unusual" all got their due.
When he whipped off his jacket at the beginning of "You Can Leave Your Hat On," the women screamed; finally, some clothes were coming off. But, this being the Meyerson and all, that was the extent of Mr. Jones' immodesty (except for one extremely brief flash of tummy).
It's not about the clothes, after all; it's about the attitude. Tom Jones brings that in abundance. MUSIC REVIEW: Tom Jones jokes, gyrates his way into hearts at the Meyerson 12:00 AM CST on Tuesday, February 19, 2008
By JOY TIPPING / The Dallas Morning News