Tom Waits All Keyed Up in El Paso


They like him, they really like him!

By Blurt Staff


Tom Waits,
currently on the road for his Gloom And
tour, was about a quarter of the way into his set at the El Paso’s
Plaza Theatre when Frank Perez—a uniformed officer–walked onstage, which
prompted Waits to explain, “I paid all those tickets” and “she was dead when I
got there.” Perez was soon followed by Councilwoman Susie Boyd who handed the
Bard of Bawl a plaque which held a key to the city. Waits, visibly moved said,
“This is a first for me, a real first.”


Concert reviews
from the tour have been uniformly ecstatic. Here are some clips, courtesy
Waits’ p.r. agent:


“Friday’s…show at the Plaza Theatre…probably was unlike anything
ever seen in the historic, atmospheric movie palace, before and after its 2006
restoration….playing out like some twisted journey through a house of broken
mirrors…Friday’s concert was part performance art, part roadhouse blues
revival, all good.” (—Doug Pullen, El Paso Times)


“No artist brings together a larger collection of scar-covered and
demon-riddled humans in his work than Tom Waits, whose keen observations of the
human condition are funneled through characters holding on dearly to thin
swatches of hope…Waits opened his oddly routed world tour Tuesday in Phoenix
with a riveting and cohesive two-hour set that felt like a reunion of oddballs,
crackpots and believers telling their stories through a series of wheezes,
harrumphs and shouts.” (—Phil Gallo, Daily


“Credit Waits for stomping…with some combination of passion and
urgency that never feels like a put on. His is a theatrical show, make no
mistake about it. He flails about like a man in the throes of a seizure, and
when he stomps on the stage a little cloud of smoke flies up. But the theatrics
never clutter the songs.” (—Andrew Dansby, Houston


“In the 20-odd years since Tom Waits last played Dallas, his music has grown more demented
and, at the same time, more poignant.” (—Thor Christensen, Dallas Morning News)


“Waits is underrated as a vocalist. His baritone is easy to
caricature, but a lengthy concert like this one offers a chance to hear what
else he can do. He often capped a song with an eerie falsetto; on a couple of
songs…he adopted the hiccupping style of early Elvis Presley…And he was frankly
emotional on the ballads that demand that approach…Over the years, Waits has
developed a stage presence that complements his penchant for vocal disguise.
Following the lineage that connects Japanese Kabuki theater to Bertolt Brecht’s
Theater of Alienation, Waits mimics the actions of the soul man or the preacher
until they become surreal. (—Ann Powers, Los Angeles Times)


Waits continues
his tour through St. Louis (6/26), Columbus (6/28), Knoxville (6/29),
Jacksonville (7/1), Mobile (7/2), Birmingham (7/3) and Atlanta (7/5), before
heading off to Europe for a string of dates.



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