Thursday, July 31, 2008

Tom Waits Gig Review - Dublin

Sounds like it was good.
Hot press have a review here
The Times have one here - but is really just an excuse to give out about ticket prices and new anti touting policies.
I cant wait till tomorrow - when I'll be there for myself.
Anyone else been to the Ratcellar?... care to tell...

*update* Jim Carroll redeems The Times a little, here.
*update2* more reviews My Own, Damien Mulley the always great Eyeball Kid has loads of comments on each night, and has a poll for the best European gig. (Dublin 3 is winning) hands down


Anonymous said...

We went last night. The Ratcellar is a big top so, it feels like your going to a circus! Well organised though with lots of ushers and security etc. Seating is extremely cramped so expect to snuggle up with those on either side of you. If you're large, or beside someone large, it will be quite uncomfortable.

Tom does a big mixture of his older style classic ballads and lots of the newer stuff. His ballads have universal appeal and everyone loves them - Tom Trauber Blues and Christmas Card from a Hooker etc. The newer stuff - you really want to be a hard core Waits fan and preferably want to know and like the music in advance, if you are going to enjoy it. Lots of percussion and the way he sings, the words are totally incomprehendible. As a result, the newer stuff is not so enjoyable. He is a fantastic showman though, and interacts much better with the crowd than I had expected. He played for a solid 2hrs 30 mins so, reasonable value for money.

Mr T said...

Cheers for the review.
Its great to get a personal idea on it - compared to the edited Hot press and Times stuffs.

I'm on a strict Tom Waits music diet.. The eyeball kid has posted a link to the Atlanta show its really good.

Will Friday ever come?

Anonymous said...

I'm a long-time waits fan who was really looking forward to the event.I found the show to be self-indulgent in the extreme. Waits displayed an enormous amount of artistic integrity during the show, granted, but he played very little of the music that people actually wanted to hear.

There wasn’t much integrity shown in the setting of the ticket prices and, in my view, if you charge ticket prices like those, you have some obligation to play the songs that people want to hear. There was very little freshness in any of the banter between songs and I was left with the feeling that I saw EXACTLY the same show as every other audience member throughout the tour.

In a fully seated environment,the ‘Bone Machine’ type songs were very out of place. Was I the only one who noticed huge numbers of people going out through the rain to the toilets all through the show? I’ve never seen anything like the constant toilet exodus and I put it down to boredom among the audience. The fifteen minutes or so, during which Waits played the piano were electrifying, but the remaining two hours and fifteen minutes of other material were way too much. A 50-50 ‘piano material’ vs ’sledgehammer music’ would have been much more appropriate to the fully seated environment.

I have no doubt that we’ll now be inundated with Tom Waits purists who rubbish my comments. I’m a musician myself. As a performing musician, you have to give at least some consideration to what the majority of your audience wants to hear, as opposed to what your own vanity tells you to play. Many of us spent a lot of last night wondering if it would ever end. Two men in front of me slept through a lot of the show. It was mundane in the extreme, pure musical masturbation on the part of waits and his band.

The show last night was professional and musically accomplished, but it was all about Waits, his over-played drunken tramp routine and stale gags, rather than any sense of engagement with the audience

Let’s be honest the emperor has no clothes on and that show was very very disappointing. I feel sorry for the security staff, who will have to endure the whole thing again tonight and tomorrow night.
-Greg Kane, Dublin

Mr T said...

Thanks Greg - I've been similar sentiments around the net today.
It seems people either loved him or had your opinion. I don't think you hated it, maybe you expected a little more bang for your buck.
I still cannot wait for Fri when I get to make my own mind up. But the last time I had such high expectations they were brought down with a big bang. Damn that Bob Dylan guy.

Vanessa said...

saw wednesdays gig. The seating was terrible - cheap, cramped. If theres someone tall on front of you (im 5'10) you'l spend the gig looking over and around heads. My ticket was 131 euro and situated on front of the stage but quite far back. Everyone seemed to be stuck for space and a clear angle to see the action. Musically it was great, the mix was good - his voice high over the brilliant backing band. When he sang though it was very difficult to make out what he was saying. Too much reverb on the mic maybe? He only played 4 songs on the piano and i woul have loved more. He performed a lot of his mad stuff. The crowd went crazy for him though and it was wonderful to see him in full flight. going again friday curious to see if a new seating loaction makes it a better gig.

Anonymous said...

In response to "Greg Kane, Dublin@

I went last night, and I believe it was the best gig I've ever been to, and I have seen just about everybody worth seeing who has played in Dublin in the last 15 years.
In fairness to Tom, he did a big mixture of older and newer stuff. So, he only played 20 mins of ballads, but he pretty much stopped writing those in the 80's, so what would you expect? The man has written a lot more material since the barfly, ballad days...(which I also love)
Anyway, I think the whole idea of his current tour has been to ensure as many of his biggest fans as possible got to see him (what with the hefty ticket prices and anti-touting measures).
So if you expected a circa 1979 Tom Waits, obviously, you should not have bothered buying a ticket, as this is 20 years on, and he sells a lot more albums now than he did 20 years ago, so clearly his music from the 80's to the present is at least equally popular amongst his fans...

Steve said...

I was at The Rat cellar last night and a night to rejoice it was ,for true die hard Waits fans.If you wanted to hear a show consisting of mostly lounge numbers then you'd be better off staying away.Mr. Waits has moved on since then and showed it and played it.I was in the Olympia in 1987(all 18 years age of me!!) and the contrast in both shows was there to be heard and seen.The set list,as order and choice of songs was excellent,true there were maybe a few tunes I opersonally would like to have heard ,but Tom Waits catalogue is so extensive and diverse,it is true that you can't please all the people etc.,but I was pleased.My only gripe was the seating and how badly laid out the whole 'Ratcellar' was.It seemed to be designed to get bums on seats for the promoters pocket to be satisfied ,than consideration for the punters comfort and visual pleasure.(is it would have been nice to dsee the whole stage and band no matter where you sat!!).So anyone in the cheap seats or Block A are gonna have the best view..But all in all at great return from the greatset pimp and bum there is.Congratulations and thank you very much Mr. Waits!!!

Steve Cork

Anonymous said...

Steve, Vanessa,

I fully understand that he's moved on from the old ballads and I've got [and like] all of the later albums.

The newer stuff [which we heard last night] would have been more appropriate to a standing gig, where we could all stomp around and roar along. He's the one who opted for the 'ratcellar' seated venue and my view remains he could/should have chosen material much more suited to a seated venue.

Lenny Cohen put screens around the place so we could all see everything and that worked well for the [many] Lenny attendees I know.

Waits was way too taken up with the [in my opinion failed] image/atmosphere rubbish and obviously thought that screens would be below him or something. Big screens would have made a big difference to the overall engagement with the audience.

The only time he engaged us was when he was going on with that raising his hands business trying to squeeze another standing ovation out of us. Greg, Dublin

Anna said...

Well I wasn't at last nights gig.In La Paz,Bolivia at the end of a four week trip!Always wanted to see Tom Waits and Leonard Cohen live and wasnt disappointed with June.
Surprised Tom didnt do more from Raindogs or even Closing Time.
Will be curious to read reviews of next 2 nights.To all those going.... hope he doesn't disappoint!

Sean Laffan said...

I had read the previous nights reviews just before I left from Waterford. Greg Kane's review particularly left me wondering what I was leaving myself in for.

So I put Mule Variations into the car and re-introduced myself to the world of Mr. Waits. That got me beyond Carlow so to keep the vibe going I switched to Nick Cave and "Dig...". What struck me were here are 2 artists that inhabit their own world and describe that world using music.

This I think is my key issue with Greg Kane's review. His view is one of a musician. Tom Waits' 2hours 40 minutes show was a performance in the theatrical sense not just in a musical sense. When Waits comes on stage he is there to perform the role of "Tom Waits" and so the music, lyrics, body jerks and inter song banter have to be seen as part of this overall performance.

I attended Friday night (sun shining, people sitting on grass etc) and was hoping that as the last night of the tour it would be terrific. I was not disappointed but then I love the crazy-polka Bertolt Brecht inspired songs as much as the piano ballads. I thought that it was the best 160 minutes of a gig I have experienced in many long year.

I must admit though I was extremely jammy. My seat was B72 and as the person that was in B69 knows that would have put me 2 rows back (excellent)but facing the first aid stand and not the stage (very bad). As it was B72 had been put in the section directly in front of the stage about 10 rows back - so excellent view.

Many highlights of the evening but particularly felt during the second encore when people sat down in the front but others had filled the aisles then suddenly the rat cellar became a very intimate place indeed.

Waits was brilliant supported by excellent musicians. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds are not in the same league so I took them back out of the cd on the way home and listened to "Blood Money" instead.

Sean Laffan, Waterford

Tom Gallagher said...

I must say I went to the show as a relative Tom Waits novice - only having 3 albums and knowing about 3 or 4 other tunes. I must say the gig was entertaining but I have one major gripe with the sound. We were seated 3 rows behind the sound desk, in the expensive seats. I would've expected the sound there to have been at its optimum but unfortunately it was far from it. The vocals were unintelligible - (now before you flame that I know that Tom Waits' singing style doesn't lend itself to clear distinct vocals, but the least I'd expect is to be able to make out syllables). For the first 6 songs I had absolutely NO idea what was going on. I would've expected that, having paid 130 euro for a ticket, I might at least get SOME idea as to what he was singing about. The lead guitar solos were way too loud, the brass section was occasionally inaudible until the sound engineer seemed to notice there was a solo going on.

Tom Waits himself was brilliant, but unfortunately the sound qualty ruined the gig for me. My friends in the 'cheap!' seats in the front section were more fortunate with the sound however, and they had a great night. Two friends in Block B could only see half the stage.

Regarding the tout situation, it really was refreshing to go to a gig and not be bothered by those scumbags. It's just a pity ticketmaster didn't have some sort of exchange systme going on, for people who wanted to buy tickets as gifts etc. For example if the ticket holder brought ID with them to a ticketmaster outlet, the ticket could be cancelled and reissued in the name of another person who brought their ID with them for that same transaction.

Anyway, I doubt I'd pay as much for Tom Waits again unless I got seats in the front 20 rows...

Just my 2 cent

Anonymous said...

I was at the Friday Night gig. Apart from the fact that I can tell my friends I saw 'the legend' an' all that I have to honestly say I didn't get it at all. The first hour was not good (for me) all I could hear was warbling, boring stuff. (Ya know that sound of playing the record backwards) I ended up standing at the back (much to the annoyance of the secruity staff, who were constantly telling me to get back to my seat!)so that I could actually see him - in the hope that I could salvage something. I kept thinking - is it me? am I tired? this is not the Tom Waits I was expecting, what is wrong here? Well that was Friday and this is Tuesday morning and the truth is I still feel the same way. Tom did not do it for me. He give it his all on the night, his truly unique voice pulled through during the final hour but I have seen a local drunk do a better job and I could make out his every word. It's not about the cost, it's not about the crap seat I had, it's not about the quality of the sound. I was not moved in any way on the night. Sorry.

Mr T said...

Steve - I was in block A on friday - the seats were €130ish not the cheap variety.

Anonymous - I'm not sure the hands thingy was encouraging Standing... It seemed like he was just taking in the adoration? Maybe it was me but only the big names classics got Ovations on friday night and he done the hand thing when nodoby was standing and nobody wa going to stand.

Anna - Las Pas - I'll be there next year any tips? - check out me and my wife are setting off on a round the world tip on Aug 26th...

Sean Laffan, Waterford -
I dunno if you've seen or heard this "Tom Waits, Nick Cave And Friends - A Flowerdance Collection " but its got some great Tom Waits + Nick Cave stuff on it. Do a search on googles its easy to find for download.