Saturday, August 05, 2006

Asheville Redux

photo by Derek Anderson

The anticipation grew quickly with the playing about of shadowy figures on the yellow curtains. Intensely bright lights behind the stage cast long, upward shadows of the musicians, and each member of Tom's touring band came through singlely to the roar of 2,500+ fans. And then, there he was. There was no mistake-- with arms stretched out, as if readying to take flight, the gnarled fingers, which later would be playing beautiful piano medleys, were casting their own unique shadow upon the curtain. Waits paused, as the crowd whipped itself up into a frenzy, struck another pose, and then sliced through the curtain. What an entrance!

Tom promptly launched into "Singapore" and thus began a nearly two-hour set of a wide range of his material of his career. Having been in Atlanta the night before, I had a good idea of what to expect, but then again, this is Waits, and he is anything but predictable.

A little over a third into the set, starting with "Tango 'til They're Sore" Tom took a seat at the piano, and with Larry Taylor (who looks quite a bit like a younger Fidel Castro) plucking that dog-house bass, he tickled the keys of the old favorites. "Invitation to the Blues" from 1976's Small Change was one that I never thought I would hear live. Tom prefaced this with "This one's for my wife." I think everyone in the theatre that night was reverantly hanging on his every word for that song.

Often known for his witty stage banter, Waits remarked about how increasingly hard it is to get a bad cup of coffee, and how he's going back to instant-- "the key word being instant." Larry is big on instant coffee, apparently. Other highlights that are almost certainly out of order, was how Waits talked about the last time he was in Asheville, back in the 40's. He said it was for a film he was shooting with Gregory Peck, and how Peck wanted all of Tom's lines, and Tom gave them to him. He remarked about the good-looking crowd, and expressed desire to take us all on the road with him, and that the ushers were waiting to take our measurements so that he could have individual hard cases made for each of us, but he said that not only was it expensive, it was dangerous.

Tom gave the audience a double-shot of encores, leaving us with "Don't Go Into that Barn." The audience call back of "YES, SIR!" (and the lone "NO, SIR!") gives me chills when I think of it, even now. Tom has provided the soundtrack to roughly one-third of my life and while the tour has rolled on into Tennessee, the experience of seeing him live is absolutely unforgettable.

Asheville setlist


Beth said...

Fantastic post. I got to be there with you for the two minutes it took me to read it. Sounds like Mr. Waits was even more pumped at the Asheville show. I'm jealous!

bigshoulders said...

thanks, Beth!
I wish I could have been fitted with one of those hard cases and gone on the road with him!


Chez Bez said...

Great review. I love how blogs are helping me keep reliving these shows over and over.

I love that picture as well. One of the best I've seen so far.

bigshoulders said...

thanks Chez bez. i lifted it from the Indy review available here:

great photos, but lousy attitude if you ask me. how could anyone call Tom Waits underwhelming? that guy did.


L said...

Hey :) I sort of happened on your page by accident. The pictures you got of the Asheville show are gorgeous. :) I was there and it was one of the best nights of my life.

Sort of how I found your page. I'm trying to get a copy of the boot that was made but the only site that seems to have it is eztorrent which wont allow me to create an account. Do you have a copy of it? My email is iheart45s at gmail. I'd be forever in debt. :)

bigshoulders said...

There's DIME (short for dimeadozen.) check the link above and see if you can create an account. They cap the number of users 100,000 but there should be roughly 2,150 registrations available. I just checked the number of Registered users. Jump on as soon as you can. If you still can't get sorted, leave another comment & I'll see what I can do.


luisa said...

Tom Waits! heck yes!
I always get him confused with Leonard Cohen. This is unforgiveable, of course.

nice to see that world mix CD post below. i've so been running dry on new listening material lately.

thanks, k.


bigshoulders said...

enjoy, Luisa!
download the whole shebang and burn away! :)

jen said...

congrats, you lucky man. sounds amazing.... thanks for stopping by.