Encounters with TJ

- Tom's Portrait - Mission Accomplished! -

I received a nice story and wonderful photos from Janet. Thank you for sharing all these with us TJ fans. The story goes like this...

Tom's portrait by Janet autographed

I've been a TOM JONES fan since the age of 7 when I heard him on his first Ed Sullivan Show in 1965 and I have always like to draw. So in 1974 when at a concert a tried to get a drawing to him on stage....it made it there but I don't think he ever saw as piles of panties quickly buried it.

Since that time so many years ago it has been a buring desire of mine to do two things...have TOM see a sketch of mine and get it signed and the other was to present him with one to keep.

I tried to get a sketch signed without any ideas of trying to meet the man...I went to a concert where I found there must have been rules about him not picking anything up off the stage..he kept apologizing throughout the concert that he couldn't do it....at the end I think the pain was visible on my face...he was about to turn to leave...when he looked down and me and smiled....but turned like he was going to leave again..and then back teasingly...then he simply bend down to sign the sketch. In the blink of an eye he left the stage. I was left stunned. I must have been holding my breathe because a woman next to me keep saying BREATH!! Breath!! SO I had my treasure..and was very happy.

Tom signs on the sketch.

Within a years time I had taken a photo of TOM at a concert that just kept calling to me to be drawn. I know that sounds silly...but there it was. The photo was driving me crazy...it said so much to me. so I decided to try to put that feeling onto paper with that photo. First slowly, and hour at a time...then like a frenzy working up to 10 hours a day. Finally it was done. I thought this drawing might be worthy as a thank-you to him for the voice that had been with me all these years like an old friend seeing me through the hard times.

To make this all happen I tried to go the proper root through management, but didn't get a reply until after the first of two concerts, by then a series of improbable events had already taken place.

At the first of the two concerts there was table seating and with everyone packed in close I was not able get the sketch to the stage before the curtains came whooshing shut.....even the staff that tried to get me backstage were unsuccessful. I thought that I would have better luck in 3 days when I had a front row ticket at another venue. So I decided to head over for something to eat...but I didn't have a reservation..and even though there were empty table at 11pm. Funny thing I met up with a couple from Long Island..and we got to talking...we ended up having cocktails together..and then the gentlemen.."persuaded" the staff to seat us. We could see Tom at the other end of the restaurant dining with friends and his manager...security was all around him....One guard was the first person I met in AC.

Well to make a long story short...I had the sketch out in the restaurant....and the staff and maitre' d were going nuts over it. They said that Sandy the manager would come over to look at it. The next thing I know the big security guard from earlier is giving me a thumbs up from across the room.... OK..now the mouth goes to cotton. I don't know what to think. I look up..and the waiter has taken the sketch and is headed for Tom..so timidly I start to follow..but stop a distance back not wanting to invade the space or appear pushy....TOM's eyes go WIDE..."yes yes I want to sign it", he says to the waiter.. "where is she?? I want to meet her".... (dear lord.. did I just hear that?? isn't it supposed to be that I want to meet him?????) The next thing I know TOM is asking me if I'm presenting it to him or if I want him to sign it....( help ...I wanted to do both)....so we came to an agreement...HE SIGNED IT>>>and HE WANTS A COPY!!!!

Janet with the copied portrait
TOM was in an amazing mood tonight...His chatter between songs was way beyond the normal monologues he does...In fact he was downright funny.... singing little dittles to himself...just very upbeat....very open. Good thing too..because tonights crowd was demanding of his time....so many people were at the stage...stopping the show..giving him gifts..and chatting..that after a while..he said he had to get back to singing or we'd be there for another week. But he was still smiling.. and gesturing to everyone....so that the whole place could just feel the love.

His set....continues to be a wonderful groove between all the band members...and the acoustics tonight let TOM shine. He took us on another wild ride...and it's so addictive...We made sure to give him lots of standing ovations...and he laughed as I did an imitation of bowing praise before a GOD...like in the movies...corny but effective.

Tom and the portrait

The story of the sketch continued....as I spent the last two days getting people to jump through hoops and do things in two days that should take two weeks or more. But finally...I had my lithograph made..and matted and framed..and all tied up with a red ribbon....but that was only as of 2 pm today. I wanted to leave at 4 and hadn't even started getting ready.

At the theater.. security was all over me like flies..and wanted to take the piece..saying they'd give it to TOM..and that he was not accepting any gifts...they didn't believe me when I told them that this was prearranged..and that HE requested this thing. And that I was going to wait until the encores..when things are a little more casual. I didn't want to cause any hazzards. I was really in a terrible state of mind even as the show started...fearing that they would try to take it from me. And made worse by all these other gift givers stopping the show and not being given any trouble. I decided I would take the darn thing home again before I gave it to someone.

What happened you ask??? well he saw the sketch standing on edge with it's big red bow right from the getgo..I waited and waited..then during his encores I moved the sketch to a postion in front of me...security flinched..and I thought that was going to be the end...but I held it up....and he came over took it as I knew he would if given the chance...he teasingly asked if that was for him...then he Held it up for the whole place to get a really good look at. I was in heaven! Mission accomplish! But remember I said that TOM was in a really good mood....so I took the red rose I had...and offered that after the next song...he took it..but I didn't let go....and got a wonderful kiss! Talk about an uproar in the audience!!! Oh My... I know some of the noise was real..some was just in my head from kissing him with my hand behind his head. Now that is a perfect ending..

I spoke with security before we left...seems Sandy verified my story...wish they had bothered to tell me...I wouldn't have been having such a heart attack...

I was fine after all was said and done...still I cried tears of joy all the way home.


If anyone else has met TJ in person or cherish memories about TJ, please e-mail to Mari.
Uploaded on May 6, 2006