Tuesday, November 28, 2006

You Cut Off Tom Waits?

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.

The performance:


Anonymous said...

Thanks Bez.

Waits' performance was really one of the most remarkably moving moments on television in years. Like you, my wife and I were totally captivated by the song and performance and I even had tears running down my cheeks ...

... then, on a show that is not a live broadcast, they did the unthinkable - a fade out in mid-song.

Talk about a loss of credibility. My wife and I sat there feeling as if we had been kicked in the stomach. I forwarded a message to Comedy Central. via their website help, requesting that they rebroadcast the ENTIRE performance tonight. The spontanaity would be lost, but it would be a bit of a mea culpa.

BBLogan said...

I hope they replay it.

Need some help with my Christmas list... your posts about Tom have helped me realize I've been living under a rock. **wink** It's time I added some Tom to my music collection. Which album / CD should I get first?

Anonymous said...

BBLogan - Which Waits album is the best introductory point really depends on what type of music you usually listen to.

But a pretty safe bet would be his most recent "Orphans" 3-CD set. It covers pretty much the types of music he does.

For single CD recommendations, I'd go maybe with Alice (a smooth, jazzy feel, with a pinch of insanity), or Rain Dogs, which is wonderful in that it has both some of his more bizarre material AND his most radio-friendly stuff (Including "Jersey Girl" made famous by Springsteen, and "Downtown Train" covered by many, perhaps most famously man-handled by Rod Stewart.)