Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Berlin setlist (#1)

The set list for the first Berlin show (November 15):

Make it rain
Don´t go into that barn
Lost at the bottom of the world
Hoist that rag
The sins of the father
Top of the hill (with a little snippet of Mungo Jerry's in the Summertime)
Trampled rose
All the world is green
Misery´s the river of the world
God's away on Business
Table top joe
Metropolitan Glide
Get behind the mule
Day after Tomorrow
Shake It

First encore (all on piano):
Johnsburg, Illinois
Lost in the harbour
Lucky Day

Second encore:
Jockey full of bourbon


Anonymous said...

Wow! What a great set list. I have tickets for Sunday in Amsterdam and am getting very excited. I am flying -Louisville to Covington, Covington to Amsterdam...get the reference? And that really is my flight schedule! Please, please, please...may he play "Johnsburg, Illinois" in Amsterdam, too!!! Interesting omission of "Kommeniezuspadt". Thanks for the updates folks. It is much appreciated.

fatbaldymonkey said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Berlin #1: After a day spent frantically chasing tickets from our booking agency and finally only laying hands on them at 19:50 it was a pair of frazzled Geordies that landed on the steps of Theatre des Westens but...man, what a show. From the very first clash of Brains drumsticks and the crouching, fumbling scrathings of Marc Ribot's intro into Make it Rain I was really Real Gone. What Electricity, what a complete fusion of musicality and virtuosity. I thought I was being penetrated by pure energy eminating from the stage, it was exhausting physically. What a superb selection, and what a phenominal encore...emotionally draining. Don't be put of by all the wailing gits wanting more of the old, not that he short changed in that respect and besides if all they want is the old play the records - Istill do! We all love Tom because he always moves forward..he inovates...he works with musicians from another world. Enjoy the performance, you'll never see a better one! I'm still shaking now, and having flashbacks. Having waited decades to see a show I was expecting a lot but got much more, Nirvana. For those about to see him....WOW!!!!!

strewelpeter said...

nice post.

Anonymous said...

The abosolutly great thing about the concert was the 5 songs in the middle. Those from Blood money and Alice. Absolutly fab! Out of this world

Chocolate Jesus said...

Frazzled Geordies , you have described how I usually feel when I see Waits. The trouble is it's been so long. However, thats about to change as I will soon be on my way to Amsterdam.
As you so rightly point out he always moves forward and if we need to look back there are plenty of albums to do it with.

Pity you can't post your flashbacks on this site.

Anonymous said...

I agree. The Blood Kney and Alice songs were a great surprise. Roll on Tuesday night in London.

Anonymous said...

I wrote this on another site, but you might like it here..

The biggest question for me was what would a Tom Waits fan look like? Would they be beret-clad beatniks or uber-cool art chicks. The answer was obvious , clothing as black as November, as dark as a Burroughs poem. So with trepidation I waited for the show, here in Berlin, where surely they would not be as cold-hearted to him as their appearances suggest. Perhaps this could be a reflection of the music coming up, post-millennial angst infecting Tom's music as is so often the trend today .

Tom has an affinity with Germany – he scored the Black Rider show, originally presented in Hamburg a decade ago and I felt he would be more at home here than in London, the home of cabaret and tinged with regret and longing for the past and wary hope for the future.

The Theater des Westens is a turn of the 20th Century opera house, gilded and chanderliered. We eyed the crowd nervously as we sipped our beer before the show – the first tour for 5 years does not deserve the corporate sell-out audience that these highly prized tickets often attract.

A few Geordie accents let us know that they were plenty over from the UK for the show but there was no fan T-Shirts on show save from that worn by wife quoting Tom's “I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy” – perhaps we are not cool enough to be here…

As we entered the arena we found our seats were good enough, front row of the second tier, no view restrictions but unfortunately no cameras allowed either to record the moment.

Nervous energy permeated the air – many here had apparently been in the same position as us, waiting decades to hear the man in the flesh. Giggles as Tom's trademark loudhailer is placed by the microphone. Yet a sense that he couldn't really be here, could he?

Suddenly, out of nowhere, he is there , hands reaching out to the audience in that twisted branch way of his, signalling at the audience but not looking at them. Screams, people rising to their feet, a crowd in unison.

Marc Ribot hits the guitar, “Make it rain” starts. Tom howls down the microphone, his bristling, spitting bark having meaning on stage that is never transmitted down the cold aural reproduction of the home stereo.

Any worries that Tom had maybe lost the energy for touring these days as hinted at in interviews removed, his newly acquired beatboxing, I guess a Waits distillation of jazz scat vocals as much as a rip-off of a hip-hop party trick, melding with the funk of the double bass.

“Don't go into that barn” follows, again from the new album and showing that waits has lost none of his invention, here at 54 making fresh new music and keeping us guessing where his next moves will be. Yet now the crowd draws breath , settles back a little, almost reverent, aching to hear every word , every inflection of that gravel voice, sucking in the scene before them.

And so we drift a little, Lost at the bottom of the World, a new track comes and goes, Waits hollers through Hoist that Rag , a political edge creeping into his music for the first time. The Sins of the father, again while being engaging, sees sitting back in the seat a little.

Sensing the mood perhaps, the “clank-boom” of “Top of the Hill” brings the audience back, Tom puts on his old hat and the crowd reignites, the old genius starting to get into his stride. Rocking with the microphone almost as one in a crazy erratic jig, Tom starts to improvise Mungo Jerry's “In the Summertime “ over the top, mocking his derivation of the chiff-te-cuff beat. Suddenly the crowd are buzzing and Tom starts on his little between song chats in that unique on-the-fly philophical style of his, musing on Male spiders and how they strum on webs to attract the females and what that chord would sound like. Ribot lets him know.

“Trampled Rose” and “all the world is green” provides a breather before “Misery's the river of the world” – “About Mankind
There's nothing kind about man” and then “God's away on business” is launched into an almost hateful song in its tempo, the percussion being hammered out by the drummer, Tom yelping down the microphone darkly , carrying a thousand fears about the bleakness and pointless ness of existence.

Then, a gasp, as the beauty of “Alice” wafts in , the crowd again rapt, Waits singing with a tenderness the casual observer would have thought impossible from what had preceded, the fan rejoicing at their faith in his versatility being rewarded.

The crowd is now his, and Waits starts towards the Vaudeville, well , being Waits, towards the Freak Show as Tom muses “Has anyone heard the story of Joe Eck”. Of course we have and that other triumph from “Alice” follows with Tabletop Joe. And can you believe it, but these talented musicians suddenly think they're the “Flaming Lips” and suddenly the whole audience is challenged to sing the refrain, whoch they do with gusto and love that could never be understood by a Flaming Lips fan, this celebration of the unloved and unwanted raising the rafters. “Man you're killing me with this” says Tom, “lets give it one more go”. I sense that Tom is almost touched at how he has brought recognition belatedly to Joe, and I stifle a laugh as the lyric about Joe having trouble reaching the pedals reminds us of Tom's wordsmithery.

Exhausted now, the crowd spent but Tom is not. I fear for him slightly but perhaps adrenaline is carrying him through as the turn table scratches of “ Metropolitan Glide” ring out.

By now we are almost waiting for the encore, “Get behind the Mule” and “Shake It” ending the show.

I often feel every encore I see is the most clamourous ever but this surely ranks highest, as Tom leaves the stage, every member of the audience is already of their feet, screaming Tom and after the usual interminable wait a piano is wheeled on, flowed by the master himself.

His love song to his wife “Johnsburg, Illinois” brings a tear to the eye of my wife as the audience sits rapt , knowing that Waits on his own with a piano is as good as it ever gets.

“Lost in the harbour” and “Lucky Day” round off the show on the ivories and then the band comes out for the second encore to play a valedictory “Jockey full of Bourbon” , a full on Waits classic to end the night on.

Breathless and shellshocked, we leave the arena. A feeling that only now Waits has the confidence and showmanship to match his talent, a fully mature performer at his peak.


neuro said...

Nice summary, Tim.

It was a beautiful concert, and now i don't really know what to look forward to. I can't think of any artist who can possibly match that.

Old Tom Frost said...

Brilliant gig, better than the Antwerp show, however the theater itself can't be beaten.
Tom looked more inspired, so was the audience
very lovely first encore on piano !
And now i'm looking forward to 20/11 to make it a hattrick...

kyrre said...

whoa. that show was magnificent. i still can't believe that i acctually got to see tom waits live. and when he acctually played the intro chords to johnsburg, il, i was in heaven and the some. i didn't expect to get to hear that one. and then he followed it with lost in the harbour. ouch. grown men were crying! indeed!

Anonymous said...

For those who attended the Berlin shows and wondered who that human
beatbox is


Anonymous said...

I was there on the Monday night
I thought the version of Shake It, which they ended the show with was fantastic.
Shake it shake it shake it babbbbbbbbyyyyyyyyyyyyy
He still has it. Makes you wonder why he does not perform live more often.
The audience were great too. The way they started cheering and clapping before the gig started just upped the excitement even more. And then when he appeared on stage, magic.
Made an old man happy
Roll on London on Tuesday

Anonymous said...

If anybody is interrested in mp3s of the entire concert, let me know at eir_mjaa@hotmail.com, and i'll give you an adress where you can down all the songs. the quality isn't bad.