Tom Waits becomes human mirror ball at tour kick-off

Legendary singer delivers menacing set

Tom Waits Pic: PA Photos
Tom Waits played a two-hour set to a tiny theatre in Phoenix, Arizona last night (June 17) as he kicked off his 'Glitter And Doom' tour.

The star spent much of the night atop a wooden box covered in dirt that rose in tiny clouds each time he stomped his feet.

"It was either I bring you to California, or I come here," Waits noted early on. A beat passed before he added dryly: "It was a tough call."

Though the night was heavy on material from his last few records - Waits' heart seemed most in the songs from 1999's 'Mule Variations' and 2004's 'Real Gone' - a mid-evening piano set featured tender takes on 'Invitation To The Blues' and 'Christmas Card From A Hooker In Minneapolis'.

Despite the set decoration, consisting largely of bullhorns hung menacingly over Waits' head, he resisted digging out his trademark voice-changer until a calling an audible and leading his five-piece band through a savage stab at 'Chocolate Jesus' more than an hour-and-a-half in.

The night's high point came with a deranged, almost melody-less 'Eyeball Kid', when Waits' huckster persona and his gravellier-than-ever voice seemed to fade away as he donned a fedora covered in reflective glass, then spun around mid-stage as spotlights turned him into a human mirror ball.

Waits, whose tunes were recently covered by actress-turned-songstress Scarlett Johansson on her debut album, will continue his tour through the American midwest before heading to Europe in July.

Waits played:

'Hoist That Rag'
'Come On Up to the House'
'Jesus Gonna Be Here'
'Black Market Baby'
'Rain Dogs'
'Trampled Rose'
'Goin' Out West'
'Murder in the Red Barn'
'Anywhere I Lay My Head'
'Cemetery Polka'
'Get Behind the Mule'
'Eyeball Kid'
'Christmas Card from a Hooker in Minneapolis'
'Picture in a Frame'
'Invitation to the Blues'
'Innocent When You Dream'
'Lie to Me'
'Chocolate Jesus'
'Make It Rain'
'Down in the Hole'
'God's Away on Business'

--By our Los Angeles staff.
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