Tom Waits live: Glitter and Doom - a darkly inspiring CD

Glitter and Doom is the latest Tom Waits CD, a double live-disc featuring tracks from his US/Euro 2008 tour, along with a disc of him basically telling jokes and shooting the shit with the audience. It's a real winner.

Waits is one of my favorite recording artists and an even better performer. This album amply demonstrates why a Tom Waits concert ticket is worth anything they want to charge for it, as old favorites like "Singapore" are brought to new life with a sprightly, sinister rendition that reminded me of how I was transported the first time I heard it. The torchy numbers like "I'll Shoot the Moon" are heartbreaking loser's ballads, shot through with hope and sorrow. And the angry, uptempo songs like "Falling Down" and "Goin' Out West" make you want to do something self-destructive and brave and dumb.

Honestly, there isn't a single sub-par track on this disc, nor should there be. After all, this is Tom Waits, the reeling hurdy-gurdy poet of the rasping voice and the ominous circus lyrics. And it's Waits live, palpably feeding off the energy of the audience. It's magnificent.

Glitter and Doom


  1. Great video, but it’s not on Glitter and Doom . . . But thanks for featuring our man Tom. No performer quite like him . . .

  2. I was lucky enough to catch him in St. Louis during the last tour. Great show and I’m looking forward to hearing the CD.

  3. Flew from Richmond to see him in Birmingham with my lady mate. Tickets were more than a hundred bucks a pop. Plus hotel and plan tickets, I spent easily more than $400 bucks, probably $500 when you add in drinks and eating out.

    I must say it was worth every penny.

  4. The tightest band I’ve ever heard backed Waits up during his ’87 tour. Someday I’ll get to another show.

  5. Someday I hope he gets due acclaim for his excellent score to Coppola’s ‘One From The Heart.’ Crystal Gayle was born to sing with Tom Waits. I hope someday they will tour together in a concert version.

  6. I saw him in Columbus during this tour… a great show! My radio station got an advance cd of this show and it does sound great. I can’t wait to spin the vinyl edition I ordered!

    FYI: “Orphans” (the three-cd box set) is getting released on vinyl next month with tracks not available on the CD edition.

  7. my dad was a bit of a beatnik when he was younger. had all of tom’s lps. when i was about 11 he handed me a stack of records and said to me, “you’re not going to appreciate this now, but someday you’re going to love this stuff.”
    and sure enough ‘bone machine came out’ and while it took me a few listens to understand just what the hell was going on, it remains my favorite. the only time i’ve gotten to see him was on the get behind the mule tour in ’99. one of the best weekends of my life.

  8. When a performer didn’t show up for a scheduled show at The Cellar Door in Washington DC in 1975 or 76, a musician friend of mine, singer Mike Cotter, got the call to go down and fill in. Since I owned a car, he invited me along. Lucky for the two of us, some more famous performers were also in town, and we got to sit out the evening and watch.

    The first fill-in was David Bromberg, who was terrific. But the surprise for me was the next act, a solo performance by a man I’d never heard of at that point — Tom Waits, who sat at the piano and gave one of the most memorable performances I’ve ever seen. And it was hilarious. I’ve been a huge fan ever since. I still remember him talking about “a Velveeta cheeseball of a moon in a Muscatel sky” and someone who was “as slippery as deer guts on a car door handle.”

  9. man, i love him and his work. i don’t recall who said it, but my favorite description of him is that he’s our poet laureate of the gutter. a thousand times YES, i say.

  10. I saw Glitter & Doom last year here in Ireland, his 3rd visit in 30 years, having missed the first two though I’ve been a fan since 1980.
    But more importantly;there’s a great public radio documentary here called Sound Stories. In Series 4, Program 4,
    great Irish traditional & folk musician Philip King (Scullion) talks about watching Waits record in his house. Waits went and got a big old wooden door and threw it down. Not happy, Waits gets a hammer & nails and hammers them through the door so they are scraping the ground. Then he gets a rocking chair and places it on top. And a bucket.He’s finally happy when he’s sitting playing on the rocking chair, which hits the bucket as it rocks, and the door creaks & the nail scrapes over the ground. You can hear the segment at the link above, though it (shudder) uses real Player for streaming.

    Always leave them waiting more is waits credo, I think.

  11. I was lucky enough to attend the Atlanta show (the one streaming from NPR). It was amazing. We were three rows from the very back, but it didn’t matter. (Got tickets through, of all things, a Facebook ad.)

    I never really thought of Tom Waits as music to dance to, but I wanted to dance all through that show. It was incredible. stringmonkey, the band on this tour was fantastic. I think you would have liked them.

  12. I saw him in the Winter of 75-76. There were about 40 people in the student union at PITT. What a show.

  13. I absolutely cannot wait to get my hands on this – particularly the third disk. I have the double LP version of Swordfishtrombones with Tom’s commentary on each track and it really brings a whole other dimension to the record. In case you’ve not seen it, check out Tom on the subject of Bacteria here:

    There are a raft of old interviews on Youtube which are hilarious, moving and insightful (introduced my to Lord Buckley for example)- try these for a start:

    And these various slouchy affairs on David Letterman: (young and beautiful)

    Awards Speech

    Fishing with John Lurie

    Singing fantastic Gospel

    Nighthawks at the Diner

    Smuggler’s Waltz / Bronx Lullabye – extraordinary:


    Yours respectfully,


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