Thursday, 20 November 2008

Tom Jones Does Something Unusual!

Tom Jones Busking outside Festival Hall

Yesterday morning my husband called to tell me Tom Jones was going to be busking later in the afternoon for charity outside The Royal Festival Hall in London. I ditched my plans for a swim, grabbed my camera and rushed out to catch the train. I’ve never seen Sir Tom perform live before and my auntie Pam is such a huge fan she would never have forgiven me if I’d have missed him.

I arrived at about 2:30pm to a small crowd of mostly photographers, some hard core fans and a fair few baffled tourists wondering what was going on standing in a semi circle around a couple of microphones and speakers. “What's happening?” one of the tourists asked, “It’s Tom Jones! He’s going to busk” replied one of the hard core fans to which the tourist responded very excitedly “Tom Jones! Never!” and then she promptly pushed us all aside and stood at the front much to the dismay of a few fans who had obviously arrived early to claim their spot. I could feel myself slowly being pushed backwards and realised quickly it was going to be a struggle to stay anywhere near the front of this rapidly growing crowd which by now had extended across all the balconies of The Festival Hall, one person even climbed a tree! Some of the people around me, (mostly women – funny that!) seemed to have the “push forward and annoy people with your handbag” technique down to a fine art. I noticed one really sweet fan who I gathered had been following him for years had brought along a bunch of daffodils to give him and was being a little pushed about by the “handbaggers”. I tried to make space to let her get nearer to the front which one of the "handbaggers" promptly tried to squeeze into but this time I wasn’t taking it, I had to use my “rigid elbow skiing stance technique” I’ve developed recently to cope with crowds at gigs behaving badly. Eventually a few others took pity on this lady and I was really happy to see her let through to the front, meanwhile I was now about 5 rows back and sinking.

Fan with Flowers

Then the moment arrived we’d all been waiting for. Tom strolled in looking like he’d “just stepped out of a salon”, shades, tan, (new face according to my brother) and a great big smile. Accompanied by an acoustic guitar (played by Keith) he bellowed out “Put on your red dress, on, baby, ‘Cause we’re going out tonight!” and just like loads of other people, I rang up my mum and held the phone up for her to listen. He then sang "The Green, Green Grass of Home", "Great Balls of Fire" and "It’s Not Unusual" with the crowd singing backing vocals. Someone in the audience shouted out “You should try this singing thing more often, I think you’re quite good at it!” to which Tom responded “I thought you were gonna say don’t give up your day job”. He ended up performing a few of the songs twice while the money was counted. I can’t say I listen to Tom very often but I can see how he has stuck around for so long, his voice really does sound great.

Tom Jones Busking

Remember it’s about the money!” he shouted out, reminding us of the reason why he was busking in the first place, to raise money for cancer research. The performance was organized by The Culture Show on BBC Two as part of a competition between musicians to see who could raise the most money by busking. Tom’s main aim was to beat the Welsh Male Voice choir which he did raising over £460. Not bad for 45 mins work!

Auntie Pam - this post was for you.

Tom Jones busks - "The Green Green Grass of Home"

Once the performance had finished I headed off to Camden and to a completely different part of the musical spectrum to see Low's Christmas show at Koko's. It was a great night, I'll post a review shortly.

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