Justin Bieber For Oldies

Growing up in the 50’s, I had salivated over the teen-age singing stars: Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis, Buddy Holly, the Everly Brothers. But I had never been much of a fan of Tom Jones. Maybe there were just too many choices, So, when a friend offered Peter and me tickets to a Tom Jones concert last week, at the newly renovated Massey Hall, we were curious.

As the date got closer, Peter and I looked up TJ’s age – 82! WOW. Would this be a rock concert or a boring evening at a senior singalong? Should we wear jeans or polyester? Choosing business casual, we sat down in the new plush seats and waited. And waited. Had Tom not awakened from his afternoon nap? Finally he emerged, slowly making his way towards the mic, using a cane! Then he carefully lowered himself onto a stool and performed his first number: “I’m Growing Old.” OMG.

He looked a little frail but, we had to admit, his voice was powerful. And the song, despite the message, was heart-warming. After the clapping died down, he told us the story of the cane: he needed a new hip but had postponed the surgery until after he finished his North American tour. Very soon, he quipped, he would be really “HIP.” His fans ate it up. Peter and I were intrigued. Maybe we shouldn’t be so quick to judge this man.

Tom Jones continued singing, each melody bringing out the depth and nuance of his vocal range. He did sing a few more songs about aging; a subject in the back of the minds of almost everyone in the silver-haired audience. But these numbers were interspersed with old fan favourites: The Green Green Grass of Home, It’s Not Unusual, and the crowd-pleaser, Delilah. he also sang a few numbers from his new album; Surrounded By Time. He proudly told us that he was the oldest singer in UK history to release an album. Loud audience applause for that one.

In the middle of the show, Tom talked about his life in the UK and his close relationship with the Queen. They had met at parties and receptions and made small talk. Later she had bestowed the Order of the British Empire on him, and still later, made him a knight. Sir Tom Jones OBE. Not bad credentials.

There were also a number of songs with hidden sexual themes. Sometimes not so hidden; as in Keep Your Hat On, about a stripper who gets down to nothing but her hat; or his best-seller, Sex Bomb. The audience went wild. One woman with dyed blonde hair ran up to the stage and hurled her panties at him. But first she held up the message on the back: something subtle like “I love you.” She had left a space for him to write his phone number and, I guess, hurl them back at her.

Singing Sex Bomb

Ah the audience…almost as interesting as the Star. People arrived early enough to head down to the newly renovated bar. They emerged, many of them with a drink in each hand, which they carefully carried to their seats and the waiting drink holders. During the two-hour show many left to get refills or do some emptying in the washrooms. It was a tipsy crowd.

It was also a noisy crowd. There was loud clapping and cheering. And screaming like adolescents. And mooo…ing. Really! One old guy sitting near us did a great imitation of a cow in heat. Another aging couple near us stood up and danced through most of the show. Meanwhile the people around them, including Peter, were getting hit by flailing arms. Finally an usher had to ask them to leave.

It was hard not to reconcile this teenage behaviour with the grey hair and wrinkles. And that was true for the Star as well as the audience. Tom Jones, you are forever young, and We want to be just like you!


4 thoughts on “Justin Bieber For Oldies

  1. LOL! Your playful side matches Tom Jones’ word for note. The first time I heard ‘Keep Your Hat On’ was in the hilarious film, ‘Full Monty’. Playfulness: a sign of being full alive and being well. Thank you again, Sue.


  2. Your article reminds me of the annual Ex concert a neighbour and I used to go to. One year we saw and listened to Debbie Reynolds. She was 72 at the time. Fabulous. Another year it was Glenn Campbell who had to use a teleprompter to remember the lyrics but sounded the same as ever. It’s inspiring, isn’t it! Sorry we missed Tom.


  3. I remember how sexy Tom looked as well as his great voice. It’s nice to know that he is still singing well even if his sex appeal is diminished. I hope we’re doing that well at 82. I saw Gordon Lightfoot on a TV concert and he hasn’t kept his voice as well as you say that Tom has. At least they’re still performing!


  4. Your blog gave me goosebumps today Sue. Thanks for the memories. At both boys weddings I chose ‘Forever Young’ for the first dance of the evening with each of them. Memories of long ago now it seems. Bye for now M.

    Sent from my iPhone



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