Friday, July 11, 2008

Luckiest Girl in the Whole, Wide World

As I'm peering straight ahead of me, the best I can figure is that somehow an evening of absinthe and gambling went surprisingly awry and I ended up passing out on Coney Island between the Cyclone and the Tilt-A-Whirl because now everything seems kind of foggy and I'm dreaming I hear carnival music and Tom Waits is singing to me through a megaphone.

But wait!

Upon closer inspection I realize that I am in no way chemically altered, I'm inside, Jeremiah is sitting beside me and Tom Waits really is singing to me through a megaphone! I knew this, but kept forgetting and having to remind myself throughout the show at the Fox. I have video footage of me dancing to Whistlin' Past the Graveyard with my cat, Obediah, when I was about 16. By then, I'd been a Tom Waits for for 2 or 3 years already. What I'm trying to say here, is finally seeing him in concert was very much like an absinthe-induced dream. I think.

Tom Waits tickets sell out exactly one millisecond after they go on sale. When I read in Paste magazine that he was returning to Atlanta I didn't even bother to think of attempting to go. But Jeremiah did. He sat before his computer, twitching with anticipation as Ticketmaster was about to open...he waited...when the seconds went from :59 to :00, he pounced with catlike agility on the keyboard and got us orchestra level seats. Then, he remained silent about it. There was a close call when Kevin sent us all the link to the article in Paste we'd already read, but I'd hardened my heart and the threat that I'd even think about it was nil.

I learned about an hour before the concert where we were headed. I wondered how Jeremiah had managed to keep such a thrilling item a secret from me for so long. As I began to call my friends and family to tell them my exciting news I understood how Jeremiah had endured it. He'd told everyone except me. No matter. When we walked through the doors of the Fox, I felt so happy I feared I might cry. And, despite all my anticipation, the expectations I'd built up while listening to his albums for 2/3 of my life, Tom Waits (whose name is a complete sentence) was even better than I'd hoped. The show was so fantastic it made me feel some warmth for the hundreds of men milling about in their jaunty hats; by the middle of the show, I'd even stopped thinking of them all as complete tools. For those of you who understand, here is the set list from that show:

Lucinda / Take me down to the well (or was it Ain't Going Down to the Well?) - Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers & Bastards
Down in the hole - The Wire soundtrack
Falling down - Big Time
Chocolate Jesus - Mule Variations
All the world is green - Blood Money
Cemetery Polka - Rain Dogs
Cause of it all / 'Til the money runs out - Heart Attack and Vine
Such a scream - Bone Machine
November - The Black Rider
Hold on - Mule Variations
Black market baby - Mule Variations
9th and Hennepin - Rain dogs
Lie to me - Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers & Bastards
Lucky day - The Black Rider
On the nickel - Heart Attack and Vine
Lost in the harbour - Alice
Innocent when you dream - Franks Wild Years
Hoist that rag - Real Gone
Make it rain - Real Gone
Dirt in the ground - Bone Machine
Get behind the mule - Mule Variations
Hang down your head - Rain Dogs
Jesus gonna be here - Bone Machine
Singapore - Rain Dogs

Eyeball Kid - Mule Variations
Anywhere I lay my head - Rain Dogs


FlapScrap said...

When Swordfishtrombones came out in 1983 I'd never heard of Tom Waits. I read the review in Rolling Stone, which began

"Tom Waits' new album is so weird that Asylum Records decided not to release it, but it's so good that Island was smart enough to pick it up."

I went right down to the mall, picked up the cassette, and spent the next 25 years playing Silent Bob to his Jay. After Swordfishtrombones I got Blue Valentines. After that I got everything he ever did.

By the way, point of order: "Down in the Hole" is from Frank's Wild Years, a play Waits and Kathleen Brennan wrote. The Wire is the greatest TV show ever made, but the song wasn't written for The Wire.

LMP said...

Tell your point of order to the guy who wrote up the setlist Jeremiah lifted, I didn't know the name of several of the songs he did. I do love The Wire, though. I truly do.

FlapScrap said...

Well if you do so love The Wire, I'm certain you're aware that the makers of The Wire are running an Iraq War miniseries on HBO called Generation Kill. Visit your local for several trailers and prepare to feel pretty good about it, considering you're hunched in a cheap ass office chair at your Ikea "work station" clicking on youtube links and thinking, "I wonder what that is all about?"

Reetay Arvaysay said...

So jealous you got to see that show! I, too, have been a fan for more than half my life (how did we get this old?) -- and have never seen him live.
Keep writing. It rox. xoxo - jts