Tom Waits recently toured PEHDTSCKJMBA (Phoenix, El Paso, Houston, Dallas, Tulsa, St. Louis, Columbus, Knoxville, Jacksonville, Mobile, Birmingham, and Atlanta), a route which coincides with the constellation Hydra ("Look to the night sky for guidance," Tom said in a YouTube press conference announcing the Glitter and Doom tour). Since we do not live in PEHDTSCKJMBA, we decided to travel to see a weekend show, which turned out to be Columbus, Ohio on June 28.
I wrote a post to the Raindogs ListServ earlier, and I don't believe I can really say it any better, so I will include it here with slight modifications.
Wow! I don't know where to begin. We arrived in Columbus and paid a whopping $3 to park (just a little different from Boston!) and then set out to find the Tip Top. We knew we had found the right place when we heard “Tango Til They’re Sore” coming from outdoor speakers. We went inside and immediately met the MatchMan, who had some very nice wares for this tour. (Thanks again!) The juke box kept serving up selections from Raindogs and we had a drink. We soon ran into Ken(adian), Tim (not from Iowa), and Jerry, and made some new friends including Pi and some others whose names escape me right now. It was great to see everyone.
We headed over to the theater, chatted with some folks outside including Jeanine and her friends, and said hi to Stuart. We went inside and immediately headed to the merchandise table. It was a mob scene, but well worth it. There were three different designs of oil stain tee shirts, each available in 3 colors: white, asphalt, and black. They were quite reasonably priced at $20, and the adorable interview “chapbook” was $10. After buying a few items, we went to our seats, which were the third row of the orchestra, just off center. The stage was a delightful tease of what was to come, decorated with bullhorns of all shapes, sizes, and colors.
The show started just after 8:30 and the crowd went nuts as Tom hit the stage. It was amazing how different this show was from the ’04 and ’06 tours. Having a woodwind player seems to provide Tom with the flexibility to do some extremely different arrangements, and we loved every minute of it. Tom stomped his boots, kicking up dust and kicking floor-mounted wood blocks and a pedal-operated school bell on Lucinda and 16 Shells. He channeled the old-school soul singers in Falling Down, and did some great comedic dancing for Cemetery Polka. Cold Cold Ground was amazing, with an Unplugged-style arrangement. It was a definite highlight. I finally got to see November, which has eluded me for 10 shows over the years. Wow! Well worth the wait!
Black Market Baby was a nice surprise, and it was fun to see Sullivan [Waits, Tom's youngest son. Eldest son Casey Waits was on drums] adding percussion on Hoist That Rag and clarinet on other songs. He really seemed to be enjoying himself. The megaphone was used for Chocolate Jesus and a very fun arrangement of Big in Japan.
Tom’s jokes during the piano set were quite amusing, and one of the funniest moments of the night was when a woman yelled something to Tom and he said “I knew as soon as I stopped talking, you would start!” She followed it up with something else, but Tom used his hand as a puppet and said “bababababa” over her. Lucky Day was more subdued than usual, and it was a nice interpretation. It was followed by an Innocent When You Dream sing-along and a melancholy Lost in the Harbor.
Tom then left the piano and kicked into a rocking Lie to Me where he kept repeating the mantra “I have no use for the truth” which was punctuated by the percussion. He got the crowd chanting “Everybody row!” to Misery’s the River of the World. Dirt in the Ground was amazing. During Make It Rain, he summonsed a shower of gold confetti which rained down on him from above. He introduced the band, and woodwind player Vincent Henry hurried Sullivan back onstage. But Tom didn’t introduce him, which caused Vincent and Sullivan to start cracking up. The two of them seem to have a real bond, and Vincent was repeatedly encouraging him throughout the show,
Encores were a soulful Jesus Gonna Be Here, Eyeball Kid with the mirrored hat making for some very cool effects, and the always moving House Where Nobody Lives.
We were quite surprised and delighted by a second encore: Tom singing Time with an acoustic guitar. Time has never been a song that particularly grabbed me until now. It was amazing and literally brought tears to my eyes. It was the perfect ending for the show.
This is the only show we are able to attend on this tour, and we couldn’t have asked for anything more. An absolutely perfect night. Thanks once again, Tom.
Lucinda/Ain't Going Down to the Well
Way Down in the Hole
All the World is Green
Sins of the Father
Cold Cold Ground
Black Market Baby
Hoist That Rag
Innocent When You Dream
Lost in the Harbor
Lie to Me
Misery's the River of the World
Big in Japan
Dirt in the Ground
Make It Rain
Jesus Gonna Be Here
House Where Nobody Lives