Oct 18, 2004

Tom Waits concert reviewed:

I took a tumble on Thursday and twisted my ankle badly. My ankle is getting better quickly much to my relief, but on Friday I was very grumpy. See what happened is that I was going to go to the show with two friends; one of those people got us out tickets. But when Tom announced a second show on Saturday night, at the Commodore Ballroom, an old fashioned dance hall which was celebrating its 75th Anniversary, the friend who picked up my ticket lined up all day to get tickets to that show too. She could only get two tickets, she got tickets for herself and our other friend. So, I guess I got ditched. It seemed stupid to get upset about it since the Commodore Ballroom show was expected to be really fantastic and to limit scalping, they set it up so that you had to line up to get the ticket and you could only buy two, and you had to have your friend’s ID with you to purchase.
Well, anyway, I could understand it and all, but it was still a bummer to go to the concert by myself.

I saw Tom Waits a few years ago when he played in town and it was an amazing show. He entered the auditorium down the center isle. He was wearing a bowler hat with small round mirrors sewn onto it, and a spotlight followed him down the isle as he walked and turned his hat, casting polka-dots of light on the audience.

This time he just came on stage and started playing. The lighting was boring, generic, lacking atmosphere. The backdrop was a white screen, the color of which would change from oranges to blues, but not in any particular relation to the music being played.

Tom opened with “Jockey Full of Bourbon”, followed by “Let it Rain” and then “Heart Attack and Vine”, which I, and the rest of the audience, met with enthusiastic applause.

The whole show was like that, a good mix of old and new material spanning 30 years of recordings.

The last time I saw him play he did a wonderful set of about four songs at the piano and that was probably the most popular part of the show – receiving as near to the can be conceived, a Beatle-maniaesque response from the audience.

Speaking of the Audience, what a mixed crowd. I saw middle aged hippies, teenage goth kids, hipsters of every class. Some guy a few rows ahead of me was wearing a gray tuxedo suit and top-hat, completely at odds with his braided goatee and long straggly blonde curls. A little down the same row as him was an early 30-something couple, both at least 5’11”, dressed to the nines, beautiful shiny people, the woman’s silicon enhanced breasts just contained by her low-plunging black dress, no doubt taped in place.

Tom Wait’s son Casey Waits played percussion, his drummer Brain almost more inspiring to watch than Tom himself.

I didn’t really go to the concert completely alone, I met friends who were going to the show before-hand for some dinner, we parted company at the door and went to our separate seats, and I joined one of them for a couple of cocktails after the show.

Good times, good times.

So, the show was a bit disappointing. I don’t know if I think it was worth the 100$ I spent on the ticket. I might not go see him live again. But I’ll certainly keep buying his music.


Mister Underhill said...

Sorry it did not work out to be as exciting as you thought it would be...I don't blame you for feeling sad to have gotten ditched like that.

Gorgeous Girl said...

sometimes it just sucks to be alone.

glad you made the best of it.

darth said...

did he play "long way home"? i listen to that song several times a day. did he play "hope that i don't fall in love with you"? "tom trauberts blues"?

$100 CDN???? wow. thats almost like real money :(

hallvardur said...

your a lucky bastard to get to go to a tom waits concert! he almost NEVER plays these days. envy ;)

WeJamEcono said...

Lucky You! I haven't seen him out in public since I ran into him and the kids at the Healdsburg theatre (it was some french film I saw, but i don't remember what anymore).

consider yourself lucky. of course, none of us would of ditched you.

Bella_by_Barlight said...

I got the review of the Commodore show from my pals, apparently it was fab and all equipment was working great and he did four encours on the piano. Bitchez. Grr.

The Commodore has a capacity of only 990 people and great views from the balcony and dance floor.

Bella_by_Barlight said...

GG: Its actually really hard for me to go out and do stuff on my own sometimes. I used to need to be duped into doing it (like getting stood up once introduced me to the joys of dining alone). When I first moved to San Francisco I didn't know very many people and had to make a habit of going out by myself or I would have spent my evenings in too small a space with my crazy room mate. (note to those of you who might know *one* of my room mates in San Francisco... I *DON'T* mean her).

It gets easier, but it's never easy. Sometimes when I end up on my own though, it *can* be fun, and I think part of the enjoyment comes from feeling brave and independent.

infobabe said...

so what happened to the other 2 tickets? Your friends bought 3 for the first show which they ended up bailing on, ya? They scalped them?

I might've bought one and gone wif you :)

but I'm glad you made the best of it.

totoro said...


Mister Underhill said...

I should really get used to doing stuff alone, but I always just feel pathetic when I try.

At least this keeps me from eating in restaurants alone; once that happens I will blimp up to 900 pounds. It's bad enough eating out a couple times a week like now.

Bella_by_Barlight said...

I started to really enjoy eating out alone. Early on when i first moved to SF, I bought magazines and brought my journal with me and would go out for dinner. I even stopped at a bar a couple of times that was half a block from my place and had a cocktail before going home. It was a gay bar called Martunies - like a piano bar kind of place. It was really dark in there with just a few little table lamp things as illumination. No one ever tried to pick me up or anything, and it seemed like every time I went in there is was mostly the same bunch of people. I would just hunch over near a candle or something and try to read my magazine or write in my journal while I had a martini and then go home.

I hardly ever go out alone here in Vancouver, and I kind of miss it. There is something really nice about having time to yourself and to people-watch once you get over your self conciousness.

Bella_by_Barlight said...

Infobabe: She gave her tickets for the Orpheum show to her aunt and uncle. I sat next to them.

Mister Underhill said...

I guess getting over my self consciousness in general is my biggest problem in life, but it does get a little better all the time.