By Benjamin Leatherman
I really wanted to go see Tom Waits a couple weeks ago. Sorta badly actually. So much so that I had the following debate with myself over whether or not to attack Ticketmaster’s Web site and drop a c-note to get my hands on some ducats for the sandpaper-voiced singer’s two-night stint last month at the Orpheum Theatre.
“Dude, Waits only comes through town like once every three decades. He’s like that fucked up liver-eating elastic mutant on the X-Files,” my right brain argued. “So the next chance you’re gonna get to see the cat is in 2038, and you’ll either be dead by then or the Earth will be conquered by Psychlos, take your pick.”
“Yeah, but $90 is a lot of green,” responded my left brain. “That’s like half a tank of gas or two cartons of cigarettes or -- most importantly -- rent money. I’m cool with hearing ‘Chocolate Jesus’ and ‘Cemetery Polka’ live and in person, but it’s much cooler not getting evicted.”
All this internal quarrelling over attending the Waits affair became a moot point when I found out that shows sold out in mere minutes. And there was no way I was gonna blow pay $200 to $300 on any tickets being hawked by scalpers or eBay opportunists. So I had to console myself with reading next-day reports of the gig from around the Internets (such as the illuminating review posted by my colleague Paul Rubin) and hoped that some daring fan grabbed some footage on the sly to post on YouTube.
My wish came true as not one, but three concertgoers in attendance both nights busted out with the clandestine camerawork. The quality is quite the mixed bag (and I needed to pop some Dramamine to counteract the earthquake-like videos), but at least I got to listen to Waits crack jokes during his between-song patter about hookers on Van Buren and the illegality of taking lions to the movies.
Here’s his rendition of “Sins of the Father” from the June 18 show as captured by YouTube user “2ubesock”:
…as well as “Dirt in the Ground” and “Metropolitan Glide.”
Another user by the handle “sushixxxxx” was in the audience the previous night and got a good chunk of the show on tape, including a double shot of Waits belting out “Christmas Card” and “Picture in a Frame”…
…not to mention “Lie to Me” and “Chocolate Jesus.”
There are also a half-dozen other excerpts available on the site that are just waiting to be perused.
The two-night Tom fest isn’t the only recent Phoenix concert up on the site, as there are also multiple clips of the Cure’s stopover at Dodge Theatre last month…
…not to mention DJ Tiësto’s mad spin session at the Marquee…
…and the Dresden Dolls’ show from May at the same venue. Here the cabaret rock duo covers Radiohead’s “Karma Police.”
Maybe it’s just me, but security is apparently getting pretty lax these days (or perhaps people are keistering in their Betacams). At any rate, as Chief Wiggum might say, “That’s some good bootleggin’ boys.” Hope no one rats you out to YouTube’s censors.