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Last Updated: Friday, 27 May, 2005, 19:11 GMT 20:11 UK
Understated Ponty awaits Tom gig
Pontypridd town centre
Not much evidence could be seen of Tom's concert in the town centre
The south Wales valleys are preparing for one of their most famous sons - Tom Jones - to return for a homecoming concert on Saturday.

The first day of ticket sales saw people queuing for hours outside the town's Muni Arts Centre.

With 25,000 tickets available, Pontypridd is expected to be packed with Tom fans.

But whoever the thousands who bought the tickets are, they weren't in Pontypridd town centre on Friday.

In fact, despite the hype surrounding the long-awaited return of 'The Voice', the town centre was decidedly down beat about the concert at Ynysangharad Park.

It is the first time that the singer has sung in his home town since 1964.

But anyone expecting the bunting and banners to be out, would be sadly mistaken.

Jenny Evans
Jenny Evans wishes she was going to the concert

"I'm not into Tom Jones - I'm more a Streets guy myself," one shopper told the BBC Wales news website.

And his lack of enthusiasm for the gig was shared by a few others.

"I'm going to Manchester to see Ian Brown - there is no contest between Ian Brown and Tom Jones," said one man.

Looking along the streets, there was a distinct lack of posters and Tom memorabilia on display.

Apart from in the Tenovus charity shop, where shop assistant Jenny Evans was working - finally some local enthusiasm for the concert was found.

"I really wish I was going, but I'm working unfortunately," said the 24-year-old.

Michelle Pearce, Danny Pearce, Diane Lawrence and Levi Pearce
Diane Lawrence is the envy of her family

"Everyone who comes in is talking about it though and I think that people are really excited about it all.

"I reckon the town is going to be packed," she added.

And Maureen Jones, who was enjoying the sunshine, agreed.

"I'm not going to the concert because I have seen him sing before but it is wonderful that he is coming home to play," she said.

"I think people will be able to hear him singing all over the valleys - they don't call him the voice for nothing."

But finding someone who was actually going to the concert was proving more difficult than first imagined - many said they wanted to go but couldn't afford the 36 tickets, while others said that the lack of seating had put them off.

But at long last, a Tom fan who was going to the gig.

Diane Lawrence from the town said she "couldn't wait" for it.

Louise Morris
Louise Morris said there was excitement about the concert

"I love Tom Jones and I think it is brilliant that he is coming home to play," she said.

"I'm going to go with a friend because my husband can't stand for long periods of time and there is no seating there.

"We are going to make a day of it," she said.

But her sister Michelle Pearce was disappointed at not being able to go because of the price of the tickets.

"I just couldn't afford them and I'm pretty gutted about it," she said.

Her 12-year-old daughter, Levi, was also disappointed but not so much about missing out on Tom Jones.

"I really wanted to see Freefaller (a support act) play. I really wish I was going," she said.

And finally, outside the Muni Arts Centre, where the first tickets went on sale - a sign boasting Tom's big return.

Lisa Morris from the centre said that the last few months had been hectic for staff.

"It has done wonders for the town's profile and all the fans are very very excited about it," she said.

"If the weather stays like this, it will be a fantastic day for everyone."


SEE ALSO:
Tom set for 'emotional' concert
27 May 05 |  South East Wales
Tom Jones' birthday homecoming
23 Mar 05 |  South East Wales
Valley open-top bus scrapped
17 Mar 04 |  South East Wales



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