Like any great party, when it’s over, you want everybody to be singing “Take Me Back to the Party” – the song Tom Jones ends his shows with. I’m still singing it from the show from last August. It was extra fun, for me, because I’d just sold The Tom Jones Club, my romance novel set in Las Vegas.
The fun thing about writing this novel is that people shared their Tom Jones stories with me. In fact, the “Tom Jones” scene was inspired by my dad’s story. An ex-co-worker from Silicon Valley wrote about how he had flown to Vegas to see Tom Jones 10 different times. My BFFs from junior high also have a story, which I’ll share again here:
Carol’s parents drove their Buick Riviera through the desert from southern California to Las Vegas every August and would stay at the Tropicana. And when Carol reached a certain age – 13 or 14 – she was allowed to invite a friend along. The first friend to go was our friend, Beverly. And I still remember my excitement over the postcard they sent me with a picture of the Folies Bergere.
Carol invited me to go to Vegas with her the next year to see Elvis at the International, but I had to turn her down because my family moved to Oregon. But Beverly got to take my place and I eventually saw Elvis in Portland. And, later, as an adult, I stayed at the Tropicana several times and saw the Folies Bergere several times as well.
I also saw Tom Jones a couple of times, too. And, ironically, I’m living in Vegas now. Anyway, here is the Tom Jones story Beverly shared with me.
I think it was at the Desert Inn and we saw it two years in a row. It was Pizazz. It was like a Broadway review. Lots of dancing and singing. I don’t remember it being a story, more like different acts somehow put together. Probably a typical Las Vegas show at that time, very flashy. We always sat in a booth (Carol’s Dad tipped big) and of course those were in the back. Tom Jones was in the booth next to us. Carol says she doesn’t remember much but she does remember putting a hole in her dress with her thumb trying to rearrange herself to get a better look at Tom. She remembers her dress was the one she wore to the Willard graduation.
Oh, Carol, I can just see you doing that right now. I so remember us squealing over Tom Jones when he first came out. And how my mother, more of an Elvis fan, said, “He walks like a horse.” lol!
Her comment didn’t stop us from thinking he was pretty exciting.