Articles and thoughts by Peter Holslin

Tom Waits, “Glitter and Doom Live” (Anti-)

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Tom Waits
Glitter and Doom Live

Goes well with: Captain Beefheart, Mitch Hedberg, coffee and cigarettes

Tom Waits’ live performances, like his confounding interviews, are the stuff of legend, due in no small part to his skill of mystification. Announcing the “Glitter and Doom” tour last year, he put that skill to good use. In a mock press conference with pre-recorded questions and camera snaps, he explained that tour-stop locations were chosen to make the shape of the constellation Hydra, forming the baffling acronym: PEHDTSCKJMBA. We just took his word for it.

Glitter and Doom Live, a two-disc compilation of highlights from tour dates across the Southwest and Europe, is comparatively straightforward. Waits’ voice is as gravelly as ever, and his band is tight and versatile, matching his variegated moods. The first disc features plenty of classic Waits songs, and it’s all pulled off with panache, whether it’s the gritty blues of “Going Out West,” the ghostly moans of “Trampled Rose” or the classy horn skronk of “Metropolitan Glide.”

But it’s the second disc that makes Glitter and Doom Live a lasting contribution to the Waits oeuvre. In one 35-minute track, he shares factoids and tells silly yarns about things like weasel fur and the SPAM Museum. All of it may or may not be true, but it’s entertaining nonetheless.

This review was published in this week’s issue of San Diego CityBeat.

Written by Peter Holslin

December 30, 2009 at 11:08 am

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