If singer Tom Jones had been a bit more fortunate at Wolf Trap on Sunday night, all the women twirling thongs and panties over their heads would have generated a breeze big enough to cool him off.
But the Welsh pop legend, though drenched with perspiration, wasn't complaining. Humidity is good for the voice, he told the adoring crowd. Jones seemed eager to prove it, too, while belting out robust and mostly faithful renditions of "It's Not Unusual," "Green, Green Grass of Home" and "Delilah," or when briefly teaming up with the blasting horn section from Tower of Power, the opening act.
From the outset, the concert was a reminder that some things that happen in Las Vegas don't stay in Las Vegas. Jones's road show is straight from the Strip -- slickly produced, swiftly paced and amusing in both intended and unintended ways. There was one hitch -- two fans who jumped onstage to dance with Jones during "She's a Lady" were quickly escorted off -- but otherwise everything fell smoothly into place, including a playfully choreographed, crowd-thrilling version of "What's New Pussycat?"
Of course, some tunes were more challenging than others. It's not easy for a 65-year-old vocalist to perform a song in which he constantly refers to himself as a "sex bomb" without looking a tad silly. Yet Jones pulled it off with disarming, over-the-top bravado. Backed by a versatile, horn-powered ensemble, he also soulfully emphasized the kind of music that first inspired him, performing tunes associated with Charlie Rich, Willie Dixon, Howlin' Wolf and Jerry Lee Lewis.
-- Mike Joyce