THREE NIGHTS AGO'S SHOW: TOM WAITS
Tom Waits inexplicably announced a brief tour a few weeks ago and Chicago was his final stop. Waits rarely tours and nobody tours on the spur of the moment. And yet, three nights ago, there we were at the Auditorium Theater, home of the Joffrey Ballet, watching Waits pound through a set. Waits was someone I never thought I'd see live, so a lot of the show was overwhelmed simply by the "whoa" factor of it all. When he sat at the piano for a too-brief solo set, it was like we'd wandered into the cover of Closing Time, albeit with less peroxide.
That's no snub against the band, however, who brough Waits' shambling, experimental blues and ballads (or in the term he's using for his forthcoming rarities box set Orphans, "Brawlers, bawlers, and bastards") to vivd life. Waits' son Casey even played drums; he looks like his dad as reinvented by a WB drama. But it was Waits' magnetism that drove the evening, and I've got few complaints except that my ideal Waits set would pull from a more career-spanning selection, especially since I wasn't nuts about Blood Money or Real Gone. But the performances here made me reevaluate that assessment a bit and I left thinking that if Kelly Clarkson could record the anti-war ballad "The Day After Tomorrow," we could end the conflict in the Middle East in two weeks.
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