Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Back in business

A fortnight turned into well over a month of silence, but I'm back. So lets get things started again, with a variety of Waits-related info;

Listen to some snippets from the Hell Boys Choir's Greetings From Hell (The Tom Waits Song Book) over at Emusic.

Flemish musicians Rony Verbiest, Antje de Boeck and Jef Neve bring the production Tom Waits Until Spring to the stage on January 15 at the Roma theatre in Borgerhout, Belgium.

Over at The Nervous Breakdown, Kip Tobin has written an elaborate post about Mr Waits and his Columbus show.

Billboard looks back on the paperless ticket system during the Glitter and Doom tour.

On Ebay, you can buy a Tom Waits action figure replica head. If you want to.


jerseyraindog said...

That action figure head is hilarious. Welcome back Eyeball Kid...

henryporter said...

The painted head looks more like Benicio Del Toro. Mad! Tom's really made the big time now.

stephen said...

, two things indicate Making It Big: your own action figure, and making an appearance on the muppets...

henryporter said...

Hey Stephen, is that both things together or either or?

Paul said...

FYI: The bootleg cds and dvds from the G&D tour are now available.

Go to www.vvmo.com, click the Search button and enter "waits" to find them.

Amanda said...

I can't explain it, but I NEED one of the action figure heads now....badly.

Rich4art said...

Loved the Columbus show review...here is my response and own sorta review:

Thanks for a great review! After listening to the Atlanta show for the upteenth time (thanks npr!), and with fond memories of this Columbus show, the equally amazing show in Birmingham, and the last night in Dublin (seriously, I had planned long before the tour was announced to arrive in Dublin on Aug. 1st - pure luck!), I have started to form a much bigger picture of what happened at these shows. They were marvelous, they don’t leave your mind and they keep evolving into something bigger and bigger. I have concluded that Tom Waits is either a prophetic genius or he is just a lucky sideshow huckster.

The framework of the shows was constructed with Tom’s sarcastic evangelical satire. He alludes to trouble on the horizon, but don’t worry, he assures us that “Jesus Gonna Be Here” to save the day, and soon. Within the structure, we are indeed peppered with sideshow grotesques and the haunting illusion of a snake-oil huckster. He performs with expertise and power and we sense he is up to something slightly sinister at times and our paranoia instinctively begins to grow. (insert ‘What’s He Building in There?) And just when you are starting to get scared shitless, he softens the imagery with “heart-pureeing ballads” - love the phrase…it is perfect! Simply stated, each show was a masterpiece.

The shows were pure magic. At the Columbus show, I was struck by the profoundness of Tom Waits’ art form. During ‘Lost in the Harbor’ I was moved by his brilliance and shed a tear. This is no small matter. I am not overly prone to crying. I have only become overcome by such a sense of grandeur two other times in my life: Chartres Cathedral is such a deeply spiritual place that I wept uncontrollably while walking inside; and one of Kandinky’s ‘Musical Compositions’ is so perfect it is sublime (hangs in the Fogg at Harvard)…it brings tears to my eyes.

So, here is what I am thinking. A nice job has been done explaining the ‘Gloom’ part of the tour. If I may suggest, I think his choice of majestic art-deco theaters as venues for most of the US shows was, at least, part of the ‘Glitter’. They are palaces with opulent interiors that are purely decorative and which perfectly mirrored the country’s mood at the end of the exciting decade they were born in. Here is a list of the theaters I am speaking of on this tour and the dates they were opened:

Orpheum Theater, Phoenix built in 1929
Plaza Theater, El Paso built in 1930
Brady Theater, Tulsa built in 1914, renovated 1930
Fox Theater, St. Louis built in 1929
Ohio Theater, Columbus built in 1928
Saenger Theater, Mobile built in 1927
Alabama Theater, Birmingham built in 1927
Fox Theater, Atlanta built in the late 1920’s

I don’t think it can be mere coincidence that the birth of the chosen venues marked the end of an era of extravagances and vice immediately followed by one of the darkest periods in US history, the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl Period. I marvel at the fact that we, as audience members, were whisked into the past to gain perspective on our present day and a glimpse into our possible future with Tom kicking up his own dust storm as perhaps a warning.

Is it total coincidence that Tom Waits brought us ‘Glitter & Doom’ (in that order) just before our economy began to truly slide into darkness again. Isn’t our current administration the absolute embodiment of the snake-oil peddlers and carnival hucksters of the 1930’s?

Quoting from the ‘General History’ page of the Atlanta Fox Theater’s website, “The interior was a masterpiece of trompe l’oeil; false beams, false balconies, false tents, ornate grillwork hiding air conditioning and heating ducts. Virtually every practical feature was disguised with artistic fantasy.” Doesn’t that do an equally good job of describing the shows in this tour? And…unfortunately, doesn’t it also do an equally good job of describing our current administration? It would all be simply too disturbing, if Tom hadn’t offered us up some wisdom. Those ‘heart-pureeing ballads’ that he interjects and ends his sets with offer up some hope and inspiration. Gentle reminders of what it means to be human. What matters most even in the darkest of times,

“So if you find someone

Someone to have, someone to hold

Don’t trade it for silver

Don’t trade it for gold

I hav´got all of life’s treasures

And they are fine and they are good

They remind me that houses

Are just made of wood

What makes a house grand

Ain’t the roof or the doors

If there’s love in a house

It’s a palace for sure

Without love…

It ain’t nothin but a house

A house where nobody lives

Without love it ain’t nothin

But a house, a house where

A house where nobody lives”

So…Tom Waits…true prophetic genius or sideshow huckster? Maybe a little of both? I don’t know. I will let each of you decide for yourself.

henryporter said...

Rich4art - great review! Paul don't think its a great idea to be promoting bootleg sales - particularly when all those boots are available gratis via www.dimeadozen.org, www.hungercity.org and www.tapecity.org, i.e. no one else is making money off Toms work - just sharing the music like it should be!!

Dr Pod said...

Welcome back, old boy (and thanks for the severed head nightmares).

Rebecca said...

wow, who knew you could buy tom waits' head for only $20. What a steal.

Opium Jones said...

Arouse your lazy bones and hook us up with some news...!