It still doesn't seem real. The night before last I stood about 20 feet from Tom Waits while he played a two hour set up in Asheville, NC. There's not more to say, really. It's just a show that was on my top ten list before it even started. A few highlights:
1) November. November was a surprise and my favorite song off of Black Rider.
2) Clap Hands. I had the lyrics to this song written on the front of my notebook at one point during high school.
3) Invitation to the blues. Done on piano with bass accompanying. He flubbed a line or two but he did the song on a whim.
4) The call and response he did with the crowd while using a bullhorn during Don't Go Into that Barn.
5) The odd little stories he tells between songs.
6) That sligtly hunched over hobo walk and they way he stretched his hand out to the crowd.
7) The footlights that cast his shadow on the curtain behind him. The man knows hot to present himself and he casts a distinct shadow.
8) Shore Leave.
9) Heart Attack and Vine. The way he moaned through the chorus was so different than what he put on wax but it felt just right for the arrangement.
10) I saw Tom Waits.
Of course there were a couple of lowlights.
1) What is it with people that feel the need to fill every empty space a band leaves in a song with their own voices? It's there for a reason, you yahoos.
2) We know you love Tom Waits. He knows you love him. That's why you paid between $65 and $85 for a ticket. Can we leave it at that?
3) There were at least two songs where it looked like Tom was attempting to take it down nice and quiet and work with silence and sound but each time the song got quiet the crowd, aticipating the end of the song, started cheering and Tom then waved his hand behind him to the band and ended the song.
4) When you recognize a song you like is it really necessary to drown the band out with screams? It's nice you like the song but please refer to complaint #2.
That's all. The same thing happened at the Neil Young show in Nashville in 1998. I guess that's part of the price for being an icon.