Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Tom Waits @ The Grand Rex, Paris


Tom Waits and band played the great Paris venue Le Grand Rex last night (July 24th) and I have to say I’ve mixed feelings about the evening. On the one hand Tom Waits is certainly an American original and has a songbook second to none in the business. The live show we witnessed though showed a different side and, to be honest, I was a bit disappointed.
Certainly the guy takes up a lot space and has almost comic book super hero proportions. Commanding a stage set designed to look somewhat like an old vaudeville show, Waits is a dynamic and energetic performer. With a voice that I’d describe as foghorn mixed with elephant blast mixed with a smokers hack - his singing voice enough to shake the foundations of the earth and that’s the truth. It certainly seemed to overpower the musicians who accompanied him on stage although Waits is a force of nature for sure. They all took the stage 30 minutes late (what’s up with that BTW?) and literally exploded with his patented turn of the 20th century thump and stomp. This band never got far from that groove either and there were just one or 2 transcendent moments of musical band magic for the whole concert. It wasn’t until the band left the stage and he had sat himself down at the baby grand with just his contra-bassist as support that the evening settled down into what was, in fact, the highlight of the night. Friendly, warm and charming, Mr. Waits’s kept us all entranced for this all too short 30-minute musical interlude. I swear that when they returned to the stage they brought not one bit of energy with them and the show drug on in a decidedly lackluster fashion although Waits was working with every once of energy. My feeling from the band was “let Tom carry the show” although perhaps he had everyone on a short leash?
Hey folks, don’t get me wrong. Even after this less then glowing review, I’m still a fan. This guy has a catalogue of wonderful music that I’m very attached too. I mean it could have just been an off night right? Perhaps we expect too much from our star performers. Certainly he gave a good and engaging performance and we paid the ticket price freely. For myself though, I think 100€ is a lot of money for a ticket to 2 hours of music. It’s a shame that it comes down to these kind of critiques but then again, if the concert had been better do you think I would have brought the subjects up? I think not…

Bookerfatz2

Web:
tomwaits.com
MySpace: myspace.com/tomwaits

Tom Waits -Tom Traubert's Blues (live) .mp3
Tom Waits - Chocolate Jesus .mp3

Photo: billielolasorchaTom Waits – Grand Rex, Paris – July 25th 2008

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12 Comments:

Anonymous NPR Music said...

We at NPR have gotten exclusive rights to webcast and podcast a concert from Tom Waits's Glitter and Doom tour, recorded live in Atlanta on July 5. Here's the link:

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=92916923

You can also download the show via the All Songs Considered Live in Concert podcast, which can be downloaded here:

http://www.npr.org/rss/podcast/podcast_detail.php?siteId=15842121

Enjoy!

NPR Music

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