Encounters with TJ (3)

- A Miracle in Las Vegas Again!-

Mr. Kurisaki, who had met Tom Jones in Las Vegas in May '99, had another encounter with him in October 2000. Please see the details in the following report. Mr. Kurisaki, a singer himself, has been a big TJ fan for 30 years. In April this year, he was invited as a special guest to a 4-week-series of radio shows featuring Tom Jones, in which he had selected and guided the songs and had nice Tom talks with the music critic Reiko Yukawa.
If anyone else has met TJ in person or cherish memories about TJ, please e-mail to Mari.


From the left: Mrs. Kurisaki (mother), Yoshiko Ohkura, Tom Jones, Hiromitsu Kurisaki, Machiko Morisaki
- At MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas, October 23rd, 2000 -

I could not sleep a wink on the plane flying to Los Angeles. In a few hours I could see Tom Jones' show at MGM - this kept me totally awake with excitement. Or should I say, I might have been in anticipation of my second miracle in Las Vegas...

On October 23, the very night we arrived, we attended Tom's show at the Hollywood Theatre. There was a new concert set from "Reload", and then, guess what?! Good old "With These Hands" was sung with a new arrangement. It was just great!

Also, I was surprised to see his stage actions were even more powered up. The applause from the audience was louder than last year. Ending dances were improved and all the more cool. I was 100% satisfied.

Never slept for 2 days, I came back to my room exhausted, and then I felt hungry rather than sleepy. I decided to have something before bed, and changed my clothes to casual wear and went down to the restaurant with my friends.

This year I brought a portrait of Tom like Lucie's, as I'm a graduate from an art college. Sorry, Lucie, for imitating you.
I never thought I could hand it directly to Tom, but I thought I would ask my acquaintance in the hotel crew to present it to him. But in case there would be a miracle again, I made up my mind to bring it with me wherever I went in the hotel. So I brought the portrait to the restaurant, but I was sure I would never see him again this time.

We arrived at the restaurant and as we walked in, the room was almost empty and there were only a few groups of people. And when I saw the table over there, I was frozen. God, ... Tom Jones was sitting right there!

I felt weak in my knees just as I did last year, and stood there speechless. A waiter came up to me and said,
"Excuse me, it's closed."
But! By all means! I couldn't miss this opportunity! I said to the waiter,
"Wait a minute, please look at this!"
and took out the portrait of Tom I had drawn. Then... why? All of a sudden, he burst out laughing, his head off. He laughed and laughed for good one minute.
"How come? This doesn't resemble Tom?"
I was wondering. Then he said,
"You wait here."
and went up to Tom, still chuckling. What's up? He was still laughing and whispered something to Tom's ear, and after a while, the waiter looked at us and beckoned "come on."
And then, the legend Tom Jones himself stood up and looked back to us. Someone passed me and went straight to Tom as if magnetized, saying "How are you?" It was my mother, over 70, who was always complaining about her bad feet.

We also went nearer to Tom. I took out the memo I prepared, but as my hands were trembling, I could hardly read it. To our surprise, Tom did remember us. He received the portrait and shook hands with me. And the ladies got kisses one by one. For about 10 minutes we were there talking and taking pictures and so on.

This super star, who must be exhausted after such an exciting stage, was treating us as kindly as possible, without so much as a look of tiredness. It reminded me of Tom singing "You've Got A Friend", musically speaking. We were all moved from the bottom of our hearts. My mother, who had long been his fan, said now she knew Tom was a broad-minded, wonderful person, not only as a singer but also as a human being. She came to love Tom all the more.

Tom, please accept our sincere apology for disturbing your precious private time. We are so grateful to you.
Tom said "Domo arigato" ("Thank you very much" in Japanese). And at last, he said to me,
"See you tomorrow!".
Not only tomorrw, we went to see him on stage every night for 5 days. At times in the 2nd row, and others in the 4th row.

The shows were all great and the applause was extraordinary every night. Young men and women fans were increasing in number and they were so enthusiastic that I got an impression that the older fans were a bit withdrawn.

For these 30 some years Tom Jones has been a super star of the world, and is still going forward, acquiring many new fans. He was the greatest person, also as a human being.

Yes, I will surely come back here again next year!

Hiromitsu Kurisaki, November, 2000
tomelvis@dream.com
Kurisaki Vocal Studio

(Translation: Mari)

Please e-mail to Mari
Last updated on November 30, 2000

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