Tom Waits becomes human mirror ball at tour kick-off

Legendary singer delivers menacing set

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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