I'll say it again. You cut off Tom Waits?
It was a pleasure to see Tom Waits' appearance on The Daily Show. He chatted with John Stewart for a bit and John was clearly a fan. He asked a few questions, listened intently to Tom's replies and shared how nervous he was to be talking to him. Simply, the respect level was huge.
And then after a break, Tom took the stage to perform "The Day After Tomorrow." With only his guitar and Larry Taylor on standup bass, it was strikingly beautiful. It's a powerful and heartbreaking attempt to tell the story of a young soldier at war. Twenty-one years old and thinking of home. Armed for battle and contemplating the senselessness of it all.
But I suppose the show was running long and so with the song at its most tender part, the credits crawled and The Daily Show concluded for the night. Now I understand that these things can't always be helped. Producers have to pack a lot into a half hour show (less with commercial breaks), but with only one interview - Mr. Waits - it just seemed that a minute or so could have been spared elsewhere for this. It's not like it was just another musical act that was doing the promotional circuit. This was a musical guest that the host was clearly honored and elated to have on his show.
Oh well. I just hope that the studio audience got to hear the song in its entirety. It's a good one on record, but I'm happy to know how exceptional it is live. I must have heard it a dozen or so times on the CD and never paid it much attention. But when I heard Tom Waits perform it at the Ryman Auditorium a few months back, his voice and those lyrics grabbed me in a way that still gives me goosebumps.
All in all, it was great to see him. Now back to another fascinating night of C-Span.