Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Tom Waits — Birmingham, AL

03-Jul-2008, Birmingham

"The memories are short, but the tales are long."

Once again, the road beckons. Tom Waits, having wound his way through the constellation Hydra, was now in the deep South for the final two nights of the North American tour. Me and my good buddy Jason, a long-time fan (I take credit for his conversion) converged upon the city of Birmingham, he from Florida, me from North Carolina.

Once we were settled in our rented room, and with growing anticipation, we left our hotel and had a spirited walk through downtown Birmingham, cutting through Lion Park on our way to 3rd street. The Alabama Theatre is a gorgeous original grand theatre of yesteryear, and it's very evident why Tom chose such a venue for this stop in Birmingham.

Waits and his band were in full stride from the first song, and as he stomped his way through the raucous, but predictable "Lucinda / Down to the Well" medley, each boot stomp raised a dust cloud from the platform and hung in the spotlight like smoke.

The divinely inspired flamenco intro on "All the World is Green" by Latin guitarist Omar Torrez didn't immediately register, but nonetheless, the flurry of notes melded beautifully into the familiar, slow progression of the song from 2000's Blood Money. It was a beautiful addition, and I think even Tom bowed in his direction and barked: "Omar Torrez" just in case we didn't know who was playing such beautiful guitar.

Waits performed over two hours again on this stop, allowing us to ride with him as he took us on an imaginary trip, complete with off-beat characters, such as the never-before-performed "Poor Edward", and the somewhat of a rarity: "Frank's Wild Years" (performed 3 times on this tour of 13 dates.)

Birmingham Setlist:
Lucinda / Down to the Well
Down in the Hole
Falling Down
Hold On
Chocolate Jesus
Cemetery Polka
Poor Edward
Lie to Me
Hang Down Your Head
All the World is Green
Black Market Baby
Frank's Wild Years
Misery is the River of the World

(at piano)

Tango 'til They're Sore
On the Nickel
Always Keep a Diamond in Your Mind
Innocent When You Dream

(off piano)

Jockey Full of Bourbon
Make it Rain / band intros
Jesus Gonna Be Here
Cold, Cold Ground
Hoist That Rag


Dirt in the Ground
Come on Up to the House

setlist provided by Shane and The Eyeball Kid
to be cont'd...

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