There's a lot of things in this world that supposedly exist that you will never see. Bigfoot. A successful Chicago Cubs team. Tom Waits in concert. One of these three things happens on a fairly regular basis, but some artists seem to get big to the point where you could charge virtually anything and still sell out multiple shows. If you missed the very expensive tour, you can get the next best thing. Well, the next-next best thing, as the next best thing would likely be a Blu-Ray. Tom Waits' Glitter and Doom Live is a double-disc set with the first being mostly music and the second being a single track called "Tom Tales." More on that in a moment.
By now it's pretty likely you know who Tom Waits is, and it should delight you to know he's even more gravelly than usual. If you know someone that enjoys blues, beat poets, or what can loosely be termed folk music, Waits is likely in their collection. His voice is best described as the sound of concrete being ground into gravel. His musical stylings are mostly old-fashioned, but beat boxing has made it into some recent albums. Oh, and his characters in his songs range from plain normal folks to all sorts of crazy. Considering his earlier work, the new stuff could be seen as "weird" or at the very least slowly nearing what might be deemed avant garde.
Disc 1 eschews Waits' legendary banter and love of trivia for the most part, with a single track called "Story" having a very short tale on the subject of eBay. The rest of the disc covers decades of the endearing performer, with tracks from Orphans, The Black Rider, Real Gone, and several other albums recorded in various cities around the world-- some of which come off sounding incredibly different. "Singapore" was originally recorded in what sounded like his speaking voice, while this version is an increasingly nightmarish sound bouncing around from one word to the next. The chaotic "Lucinda - Ain't Goin' Down" merges two songs from Orphans into a significantly improved whole, begging you to listen and re-listen until your ears bleed.
Fans of Tom Waits as a cultural figure may find Disc 2 to be the key selling point. On his many talk show appearances, he always trots out strange facts and trivia. There's an intense level of enthusiasm in his voice when he relates his discoveries in the world, involving the legality of washing your car with underwear and pig organ transplants. This is the sort of stuff you buy bootleg concert recordings for, so it's nice to have a legit release stuffed with what may be the most educational banter you'll hear in a concert album this year. Really, the only nitpicks we have here is that they were edited into a single 36-minute track rather than put between the songs, and that the name seems out of character. This aside, people are going to go nuts for this. Not a ton of people, but you know who you are.
Other notes: the disc comes with a booklet of photos and the cities in which the tracks were recorded, and you can go a step further to search online for the setlists of the tour to find out exact dates. No lyrics are included. We found a copy released early and bought it (technically, it isn't released until tomorrow) and even though we paid full retail, it's worth hearing.
November 23, 3009