Friday, June 27, 2014

Tom Waits 22: Glitter And Doom

In the decade since “returning” to music with Mule Variations, Tom toured occasionally, usually for short stretches and hitting cities somewhat out of the way or simply missed the last time. With a lot of material to choose from, Glitter And Doom Live just scratches the surface of the 21st-century Tom Waits concert experience, not least because you can’t hear the unique sight of the man stomping away at his microphone stand, kicking up clouds of talcum powder, or contorting his figure to “direct” the band.
Still, it’s a smooth program, culled from various dates but mixed to sound continuous. With older son Casey manning the kit, and younger son Sullivan turning up on clarinet, the band nicely translates the rusty, dusty sound of the albums to the big stage. The selections from Real Gone particularly improve here, emerging as songs as opposed to just sounds.
They’re not all clang, boom and steam, of course; “Fannin Street”, “Lucky Day” and “I’ll Shoot The Moon” provide some quieter moments, while “Live Circus” and “Story” provide welcome detours of humor. If that’s not enough, an entire second disc is devoted to a single track combining a half hour of various tall tales, bad jokes and hypothetically restrictive local laws taken from preludes to his solo piano numbers, ending with a quick run through “Picture In A Frame”.
As with most Tom Waits albums, this will not provide a bolt of understanding for the unconverted. His voice is raspy, the melodies are basic and some people just don’t get him. But if he doesn’t come to your town anytime soon, Glitter And Doom will have to do.

Tom Waits Glitter And Doom Live (2009)—3

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