A Fan-Made Film Reconstructs an Entire Tom Waits Concert from His “Glitter and Doom Tour” (2008)

Every­body who’s been to a Tom Waits con­cert has sto­ries to tell about it — no few of them heard straight from the mouth of Waits him­self. The offi­cial live album for his 2008 Glit­ter and Doom tour actu­al­ly devotes its entire sec­ond disc to “a selec­tion of the com­ic bro­mides, strange mus­ings, and unusu­al facts that Tom tra­di­tion­al­ly shares with his audi­ence dur­ing the piano set,” with top­ics rang­ing from “the rit­u­al of insects to the last dying breath of Hen­ry Ford.” This after a first disc craft­ed from musi­cal per­for­mances record­ed in ten dif­fer­ent cities, “from Paris to Birm­ing­ham; Tul­sa to Milan; and Atlanta to Dublin.”

“Tom Waits — Glit­ter and Doom Con­cert Expe­ri­ence,” the fan video above, pulls off a sim­i­lar feat of assem­blage, but with a visu­al com­po­nent as well. Its cre­ator describes it as “a com­pi­la­tion of pro­fes­sion­al footage and fan films,” using “all the released sound­board audio that had footage to accom­pa­ny it to make a con­cert film that should make a good expe­ri­ence of what it would have been like being in the audi­ence.”

The result­ing hour-and-three-quar­ters includes a few exam­ples of Waits’ onstage ora­to­ry, and more impor­tant­ly, such beloved num­bers from his song­book as “Goin’ Out West,” Choco­late Jesus,” “Hold On”, and “Inno­cent When You Dream” — each one as much of a nar­ra­tive of deep­est, dark­est Amer­i­cana as his non-musi­cal mono­logues.

“A trip through the world of Tom Waits can be dis­ori­ent­ing,” writes NPR’s Robin Hilton (along­side a stream­able record­ing of Waits’ July 5, 2008 show at Atlanta’s Fox The­ater). “His ram­shackle sto­ry-songs, with their creaky instru­men­ta­tion and dusty poet­ry, usu­al­ly leave lis­ten­ers with more ques­tions than answers, and his per­sona out­side of his music revolves around a play­ful but guard­ed mix of fic­tion and real­i­ty.” To pro­mote the Glit­ter and Doom tour, out came “a taped press con­fer­ence, fea­tur­ing Waits seat­ed at a table of micro­phones, answer­ing ques­tions amid bursts of flash­bulbs and mur­murs” — all of which was soon revealed not to be what it seemed. But as Waits’ strange­ly cap­ti­vat­ing career demon­strates, the ambi­gu­i­ty between per­for­mance and real­i­ty is where it’s at.

via MetaFil­ter

Relat­ed con­tent:

Stream All of Tom Waits’ Music in a 24 Hour Playlist: The Com­plete Discog­ra­phy

An Ani­mat­ed Tom Waits Talks About Laugh­ing at Funer­als & the Moles Under Stone­henge (1988)

Tom Waits’ Many Appear­ances on David Let­ter­man, From 1983 to 2015

The Black Rid­er: A The­atri­cal Pro­duc­tion by Tom Waits, William S. Bur­roughs & Robert Wil­son (1990)

Tom Waits Reads Charles Bukows­ki

The Tom Waits Map: A Map­ping of Every Place Waits Has Sung About, From L.A. to Africa’s Jun­gles

Based in Seoul, Col­in Marshall writes and broad­casts on cities, lan­guage, and cul­ture. His projects include the Sub­stack newslet­ter Books on Cities, the book The State­less City: a Walk through 21st-Cen­tu­ry Los Ange­les and the video series The City in Cin­e­ma. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.


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