Sign up for our mailing list Real artists creating records on their own terms

Sign up for our mailing list


Wednesday, August 9th, 2006

The Guardian covers Tom Waits live!

By Guardian Unlimited / Music 02:45pm Tom Waits in concert. Photograph: Markus Schreiber/AP It's the opening night of Tom Waits' first American tour in seven years, and the queue wraps around an entire Atlanta city block. The historic Tabernacle Theater is small, it's almost showtime, and all 2,500 of us are still on the sidewalks in "Hotlanta's" sweltering heat. We're here because Tom decided to cut the ticket touts out of the Tom Waits ticket business, writes Ben Cramer. For each stop of this mini-tour (which sold out in minutes), Waits has adopted a strict policy whereby tickets are issued only at the doors. Buyers collect them and must directly enter the venue. The only way to tout, I suppose, is to establish your fleecing price, then stand in line with, and enjoy the show with, your prey. That seems to be a sufficiently weird prospect. Sure enough, there's not a tout in sight. Waits takes the stage in a neglected black jacket and pants, and his signature Stetson, and begins his barking and wheezing. "I know what you're thinking," he says. "What about having to wait in line to see you, Tom? Well, otherwise, you'd be paying $1,500 on eBay for tickets, right? But I was thinking of you. You can meet your wife here. You can meet someone else's wife here. And you can move forward slowly with them." Just how many of these fans would have paid $1,500? Waits collects devotees like a minor deity - famous enough to get respectable numbers, and weird enough to convert some real cult members. His only live appearance in the past seven years was a one-off show in 2004, and he hasn't been to Atlanta for three decades. His true believers are freaking out. Fans have driven here from 15 hours away. Online ticket trades for rides and places to crash have been organized across many states. There seem to be no casual fans here. It's a weird little tour. Eight shows in eight towns in the middle of the country. No New York or LA, but Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio. Tom offered a pre-tour comment on how the places were picked: "We need to go to Tennessee to pick up some fireworks, and someone owes me money in Kentucky."

Facebook | Twitter

Browse by Artist

1537All Artists 96Tom Waits 61Mavis Staples 54Neko Case 51Lost In The Trees 50Sean Rowe 48Dr. Dog 41Jolie Holland
40Bettye LaVette 40The Milk Carton Kids 37Man Man 33Tim Fite 33DeVotchKa 31Islands 31Grinderman 31Tinariwen 28Son Little 27Galactic 27Wilco 24Michael Franti and Spe... 22Bob Mould 22William Elliott Whitmo... 22Saintseneca 21Nick Cave & The Bad Se... 21The Frames 20Joe Henry 19Booker T. Jones 19Sage Francis 19Doe Paoro 17John K. Samson 17Yann Tiersen 16Ramblin Jack Elliott 16Jason Lytle 15Glen Hansard 15Christopher Paul Stell... 13Daniel Lanois 13Billy Bragg 13Andy Shauf 13Prism Tats 12Xavier Rudd 12Xenia Rubinos 12Peter Silberman 11The Weakerthans 11Lyrics Born 11Rain Machine 11Mose Allison 11Roky Erickson 11The Antlers 11Calexico 10The Swell Season 10The Melodic 10Deafheaven 10So Much Light 10Delicate Steve 9Marianne Faithfull 9N.A.S.A. 9Cameron Avery 8Solillaquists of Sound 8Greg Graffin 8Cadence Weapon 8The Coup 8Ryan Pollie 7Elliott Smith 7Eddie Izzard 7Dead Man's Bones 7Alec Ounsworth 7Beth Orton 7Kelly Hogan 7Title Fight 7Jade Jackson 6A Girl Called Eddy 6Busdriver 6Os Mutantes 6Kate Bush 6Broken Twin 6The Drums 6The Dream Syndicate 6Ben Harper and Charlie... 5One Day As A Lion 5The Field 5Keaton Henson 5Beat Connection 5Japandroids 4Ersi Arvizu 4Marketa Irglova 4Pops Staples 3Danny Cohen 3Sierra Leones Refugee... 3Petra Haden 3Cass McCombs 3Girlpool 3Curtis Harding 3Rafiq Bhatia 3Walter Wolfman Washing... 2Various Artists: RANGO 2Jeff Tweedy 1Tricky 1Joe Strummer And The M... 1Youth Group 1Blackalicious 1Antibalas 1Porter Wagoner 1Various Artists: ROGUE... 1The Locust 1Rogue's Gallery 1Kronos Quartet with Br... 1Simian Mobile Disco 1case/lang/veirs 1Merle Haggard 1Un Blonde
See Full List+