Tom Jones’s first attempt at busking began ominously as a crowd gathered around a set of speakers and a lone microphone set up on the South Bank of the Thames near the Royal Festival Hall. “It’s Tom Jones, isn’t it?” one woman asked. “I’ve never liked him since he had his nose done. He had a sensible Welsh nose in the old days.”
Skateboarders and BMX bikers gathered nonplussed at a nearby underpass. Sir Tom would be using the graffiti-covered skating area if it rained, they were told. “That would be a bit awkward,” one BMX rider said. “We’d have to ride around him.”
But any doubt that the 68-year-old singer could still thrill a crowd was dispelled the moment he stepped up to the microphone. “Can you hear me all right?” he asked. The crowd, which had swelled to about 400, cheered and raised their arms, not in celebration, but to capture the moment on their mobile telephones.
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