Lisner Auditorium caught disco fever last week as 70s sex god Tom Jones took the stage. Jones’ seductive pelvic swivels and sultry vocals charmed his old-time fans and a handful of younger wannabe disco divas.
The crowd erupted with cheers and female audience members swooned when Jones appeared in a studded blue shirt and sleek black pants. Although he was clad in ’70s sparkle, Jones was still a 21st-century man. He played several songs from his new album, Mr. Jones, a collaboration with ex-Fugees guitarist Wyclef Jean. Songs including “The Letter” and “We’ve Got Tonight” were surprisingly fresh and loaded with funky bass and keyboard grooves and meaningful vocals.
“Who says being 60 means you can’t dance?” Jones asked the full house at Lisner while performing his signature moves.
Jones’ age hasn’t hurt his sex symbol status. Longtime fans haven’t lost their love for the Welch singer, which was evident in the number of female underwear accumulated on stage throughout the show.
“It’s a waste of good panties,” said a man in the audience.
Even University Police officers couldn’t stop fans from continuing the longtime Tom Jones tradition of underwear tossing. Jones seemed to revel in the attention, choosing one lucky fan’s light blue thong from a heaping pile to wipe the sweat from his glistening forehead.
“You’ve got to give your woman what she wants, when she wants it, how she wants it and any time she feels she wants it,” Jones said to a screaming crowd. “You see, fellas, you’ve got to care of business – that’s what we were put on this earth to do.”
Plenty of gents were taking care of their ladies before the concert even started. Men bought their women expensive $7 glasses of wine and snacks, transforming the lobby into a cocktail lounge. Females flocked to the souvenir stand, staring at T-shirts with Jones’ face plastered on them. It appeared the most popular purchase was a light blue T-shirt with the name of one of Jones’ most famous songs – “What’s New Pussycat?”
Jones’ classic repertoire ignited the crowd more than his new ballads. While singing songs such as “Mama Told Me Not to Come” to “She’s a Lady” and “It’s Not Unusual,” it seemed like Jones was born to be on stage. He also paid homage to the classic favorites “Venus,” by Shocking Blue, and “Working in the Coal Mine,” by Lee Dorsey.
“People say, ‘Is your business hard work?’ and I say, ‘I haven’t worked since 1962,'” Jones said of his profession.
Jones’ music was uplifting and the energy in the room was invigorating. The concert was a much-needed break from the 50 Cent, Jay-Z and Metallica vibes that rule the airwaves. It’s good to bring back the old while trying something new.