M Streets Dallas | Tom Jones at the Granada
Two moods seemed to permeate the crowd at the Tom Jones concert on Saturday night at Dallas’ Granada Theater: one, pure ecstasy; the other, slightly disappointed, but pretty euphoric nonetheless.
The reaction could be summed up by comments I overheard leaving the 90-minute show, which played to a sold-out crowd of 1,000. The huge contingency of women of a certain age, and at 53 I include myself in that batch, were ever-so-slightly hurt that Jones didn’t do more of his old hits; he focused on a smartly curated set of tunes that felt more contemporary. This is not a star who’s content to play his same set list from 30 or 40 years ago.
We got the No. 1 smashes “It’s Not Unusual” “Green, Green Grass of Home” and the crowd pleaser (love! jealousy! murder!) “Delilah,” along with a few others (including superb renditions of Tom Waits’ “Bad As Me” and the movie theme “Thunderball,”), but no “What’s New Pussycat,” no “She’s a Lady, or “Help Yourself” (my favorite, and I’m a little crushed, Tom). A few frustrated women soothed their souls with a lively singalong of “What’s New Pussycat” in the restroom after the show.
The other comments, heard considerably more frequently (at least by me), were like that of the guy who gushed, “I feel like I did when we walked out of that Elvis Presley concert. It’s a dream. We got to see him.”
You might think Jones, at 73, would consider slowing down. But given the charisma and still-amazing baritone that the Welsh prince of wails brought to his 90-minute set, I’d put him up against any of today’s generation of pop-rock stars in terms of talent and energy, and expect him to almost universally come out ahead.
In fact, with respect to Justin Timberlake, I’ve just invented a new genre for the early baby boomers and pre-boomers such as Jones who just can’t stop those hips from moving (and yes, underwear did fly onto the stage at frequent intervals). I’m calling it “sexyback boomer,” as in, they may be from “back when,” but they still bring the erotic heat to whatever they do. Add Bruce Springsteen, Sting, Mick Jagger and Neil Diamond to the sexyback boomer list (#sexybackboomer).
Jones’ opener was Leonard Cohen’s “Tower of Song,” which includes the lyrics “I was born like this, I had no choice, I was born with the gift of a golden voice.” Jones brought both the tower of song — with tunes from the rock, pop, gospel, soul and country catalogs — and the voice to brilliant life on Saturday.
I didn’t think you could get a standing ovation from a standing-tickets-only crowd, but the audience at the Granada managed it several times. They arched high on tiptoes and raised their arms to signify the love. And that, my friends, defines sexyback boomer.
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