Marginalia · Reviews

Tom Waits: By Demons Be Driven

Somewhere in a dark corner of rock and roll’s junkyard, there’s a carnival going on. An old white blues man is noisily trying to shake off his demons. His once-shiny suit is dusty from the melee, and the twisted metal of his soul is on display. As a crowd gathers in the night, the carnie growls in delight. That ol’ devil’s got ‘im in fevers and fits, howling his gospel to any and all who’ll listen.

In spite of its conservative constellation of cities and small venues, Tom Waits‘ Glitter and Doom Tour managed to stop in Alabama twice. “We’re going to the deep south,” Waits explained, “where they still love a man who wears red pants, and they make him feel welcome.”

Thanks to the diligence and foresight of my friend Mike Nagy, we caught Tom Waits at the beautiful Alabama Theatre in downtown Birmingham. It was a hand-clappin’, foot-stompin’ good time. Waits stayed close to his last few records, but he yanked out a some old gems as well. The set list in Birmingham went something like this:

Lucinda / Ain’t Going Down to the Well No More
Down in the Hole
Falling Down
Hold On
Chocolate Jesus
Cemetery Polka
Poor Edward
Lie to Me
Hang Down Your Head
All the World is Green
Black Market Baby
Frank’s Wild Years
Misery is the River of the World
Tango ’till They’re Sore
On the Nickel
Always Keep a Diamond in Your Mind
Innocent When You Dream
Jockey Full of Bourbon
Make it Rain
Jesus Gonna be Here
Cold, Cold Ground
Hoist that Rag

Dirt in the Ground
Come On Up to the House

If you ever get the chance to see The Man live, it is highly recommended. Call no man happy till he dies…