Tom Jones Defies Expectations With a Stirring Stopover at Massey Hall

Eighty-two-year-old Tom Jones has impeccable taste in choosing songs.

Inside a packed house at Toronto’s Massey Hall – his booming voice still distinctly his – he played an array of covers including ones by Leonard Cohen, Prince, and Jerry Lee Lewis.

He also played selections from his successful newest album, Surrounded by Time, ecstatic in sharing news that he’s now become the oldest male singer to have an album chart in the U.K.’s top spot.

That’s not to say that the Welshman didn’t perform his best-known hits from the past. He certainly did that, too. In fact, in the first few minutes, he and his top-notch band reimagined It’s Not Unusual with accordion and bossa nova flavours, added for extra measure.

Tom Jones onstage at Toronto’s Massey Hall. Photo by Myles Herod

Even more surprisingly, for the entirety of the two-hour concert, the onstage screen oscillated with high-powered imagery, often including multiple closeups of Jones in psychedelic shades.

Later on, due to lingering mobility issues (Jones transparently remarked that he’s getting hip replacement surgery after the tour concludes), all members remained onstage for their encore, skipping the customary tradition of sauntering off and back on.

During those final songs, he fondly reminisced of the time he and Elvis went to see Chuck Berry play in Las Vegas before doing his own sizzling version of Johnny B. Goode, evidently bringing down the house.

From being the master of reinterpretation, Jones knows a good song when he hears one, and his stirring, age-defying stopover in Toronto proved that in spades.


Myles Herod

Myles Herod

Traveller, image maker, pop-culture seeker, storyteller, a guy you want around when things go south. Tastes range from Kubrick to Krautrock, Wu-Tang to Wiseau. Currently resides in Toronto, Canada.
Myles Herod
Myles Herod

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