Blogs » On Another Note » Tom Waits Live in Jones Hall 6/22/08



I’ve been to countless shows over the years. It’s a perk when you’ve played in countless of bands and written a review or two for a zine that can’t afford to pay you. I think I’ve seen just about every living musical act I’ve always wanted to see. Except for one, and I just made that goal a reality last night.


I got to see Tom Waits perform live in Houston Texas. If you keep up with this blog, or know me in my personal life, you will probably know that for me, Tom Waits is one of the most influential musicians I know of. If something doesn’t sound quite right, or I worry how a song is going to come out, I think about Tom Waits, and every discordant note he has ever played that for some reason just sounds beautiful when taken in the right context.


When the chance came to see him play, I couldn’t pass it up. So I paid the triple digit ticket price and loaded up the truck for Jones Hall to a packed sold out crowd.


The stage, littered with megaphone parts and fog, looked like a creepy corner of “Sanford and Son’s” junkyard. His band came forth with a quiet confidence as they took their spots and awaited their front man. When Tom showed up, the place went nuts and he opened a barrage of weepers and stompers.


For over two hours, I felt like I was in a dream, as I watched the makeshift props and instruments from my snug little 8th row seat. He moved with a loud, brash confidence that astounded me. It’s not just in his songs, it’s in his manner of movement, that his body is his own instrument. When he stomps the ground, dust rises in a cloud, he moves and shakes his fingers so fast it looks like he might take flight. The man has presence and after playing in front of a crowd for about 15 years, I realize I am a stone cold amateur compared to this guy.

I think about stuff. How when I discovered his music I was in a transitional time in my life, and everytime I had a bad day, I went and bought a Tom Waits album. Eventually I had them all, and now, he is playing song after song, bringing forth images of ghosts, demons, lost loves and roadtrips. It was almost too much to handle.

After the encore I looked at my watch. There was no way that much time could have passed by, but I guess it did, and regrettably, like the others, I slowly filed back into the main hall of the theater to face the reality of life again. Thanks for the trip though, Tom