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.
‘Hoist That Rag’
‘Come On Up to the House’
‘Jesus Gonna Be Here’
‘Black Market Baby’
‘Goin’ Out West’
‘Murder in the Red Barn’
‘Anywhere I Lay My Head’
‘Get Behind the Mule’
‘Christmas Card from a Hooker in Minneapolis’
‘Picture in a Frame’
‘Invitation to the Blues’
‘Innocent When You Dream’
‘Lie to Me’
‘Make It Rain’
‘Down in the Hole’
‘God’s Away on Business’
–By our Los Angeles staff.