Monday, 28 July 2008

Tom Waits For No Man

But he did keep the audience waiting for half an hour. Nae bother. Heck, after 20 years, what’s an extra 30 minutes? Negligible, that’s what. Especially when the concert itself then proceeds to last a grand total of two and a half hours, which is probably about an hour longer than any other concert Alien Wally and Mags have ever been to.

Also unlike any other concert Alien Wally and Mags have ever been to, this was the first time they had ever seen an artist receive a standing ovation before he’d even sung a note. Mags had a brief moment of concern about this… what if Tom’s bourbon-addled brain got itself all confused and thought it was the end of the show rather than the beginning and he left the stage never to return?

Well, she needn’t have worried. Worrying is such a useless and silly activity to indulge in anyway. For one, Tom may have always wanted to be an old man, but he showed no sign of impending senility. Instead, he joined in the standing ovation with enthusiasm, egging the audience on to a resounding crescendo. For two, if reports are to be believed, Tom gave up drinking and smoking back when he married his wife in 1980, giving his brain 28 years of recovery time. During this time, instead of soaking up whisky, it seems that Tom’s brain has been soaking up random facts and trivia. Who knew that a Tom Waits concert could be educational as well as entertaining?!

And entertaining it was, as Tom stamped his feet vigorously in his “sandbox”, sending up clouds of dust with every beat. If it wasn’t for the opulent interior of the Playhouse, one could almost imagine that one was watching a wandering minstrel perform on a sawdust covered stage in a saloon in the old west. A wandering minstrel who got showered with glitter at the end of his performance.

Tom Waits’ voice really can’t be classified as beautiful in the usual sense of the word. And yet… it is. Alien Wally and Mags may be eating end-of-the-month-salticrax for the next year to pay for the tickets, but it was more than worth it for what is probably literally a once in a lifetime event. Alien Wally is to be congratulated for his fast keyboard/mouse combo actions that ensured not just tickets, but really good tickets, were obtained before they were all sold out 5 minutes after going on sale.

In conclusion... since from previous experience, Alien Wally and Mags now know that this question will come their way at some point, here is the pre-emptive answer to what to wear to a Tom Waits’ concert: Like Nick Cave, Tom Waits wears a suit on stage. That’s pretty much where the resemblance ends. One looks a bit like a sinister card-shark. The other looks like a hobo. Neither can be even remotely matched, so please don’t even try. If you must emulate something from Tom Waits’ wardrobe, the only permitted item is the hat. Just realise that you won’t be unique in this, as at least 50% of the audience is likely to have had the same great idea. Rather than trying to copy Tom Waits’ dress-sense, rather copy the principle behind it… express your soul in everything that you do, including the outfits that you wear. Even if said expression is “hobo”. You’ll be in good company.

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