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My biggest treasure from mining the internet for music (other then the friends) was attending concerts by Tom Waits with great seats at great venues. I wrote previously about the Columbus show in 2008, in 2006 I caught three shows!

I discovered the online Raindog community in 1999 when Waits started one of his rare tours, being able to follow and read about others concert experiences was fun. I had considered trying to get tickets to his Chicago show that tour but didn’t… he is the one living artist I would travel many miles to see, and I am not alone, we sat next to a guy who flew in from Germany to see his 2006 Detroit show.

Tom Waits tour manager Stuart Ross occasionally participates in the Raindog community, prior to the 2006 Orphans Tour he made tickets available to these fans, you had to prove you were a longtime Raindog member to participate in the ticket purchases. I acquired 2nd row center seats for the Detroit show and 4th row center for the Akron show. My brother went with me to the Detroit show and my son Andrew the Akron show. Just days before the Akron show it was announced Tom would do a second show that night in Cleveland starting at midnight, I was lucky to score 2 tickets to that show via Ticketmaster.

Prior to the Detroit show John and I met up with other music adventure seekers at a restaurant across from the Detroit Opera House where the concert was being held. There we met many people, one all the way from the town of Dover in England, most were from the mid-west, and there was a father whose 14 year old son was the “Raindog” who got the tickets and wanted to meet these other “dogs” he had an online relationship with. The performance started with the musicians walking out from behind the backlit stage curtain with their shadows growing as they approached and entered, the last was Tom Waits who stopped to cast his larger than life scarecrow stance shadow before passing to the other side… the audience roared and the show began, an amazing first time Waits experience for me… these videos are from that show…

This video shows the band coming back for the encore with a similar curtain shadow casting as the show beginning…

For the Akron show I picked up Andrew from his friends house in the southern Michigan. We headed to Cleveland where we would be spending the night and checked into our hotel. Then to Akron for the first show of the night… it was nice to spend some time alone with Andrew, after your children grow up those times become fewer. We did not meet up with other “dogs”, we had dinner by ourselves, it was nice.

At the show a video camera came down the center aisle as soon as the lights were dimmed and set up on a tripod, they recorded the entire show stopping before the second encore. The camera was right next to me at row D.

After the show it was off to Cleveland for the midnight performance, the doors weren’t opened until well after midnight, the line went around the block to the back of the theater where Tom Waits bus was parked, we were near this area watching people coming and going. It was reported the filmmaker Jim Jarmusch was one of those people. I overheard Waits described as “vaudevillian blues theatre” by one of the people near us.

The venue, Cleveland House of Blues, was like going to the bar after a Tom Waits show, and Tom Waits as the bar entertainment…. singing along drinking a few Guinness with my son … well I guess it wasn’t “like” that, it was that, very cool.

Highlights for me at the HOB show was when he used the bullhorn during “2:19”, which I hadn’t experienced yet, his banter between songs like when he sat down at the piano with a vase of flowers on it he said “you know the only thing better than Roses on your piano are Tulips on your organ”, of which he quickly apologized saying it was the wrong thing to say, that was before “On The Nickel” a favorite song of mine. He did his classic “I Wish I Was in New Orleans”, a unique one-time performance of Hank Williams “Ramblin’ Man” and also did the crowd pleasing glitter throw over himself during “Whistlin’ Past the Graveyard”.

I’ll always remember hoisting a Guinness singing “I ain’t allowed …I ain’t allowed …I ain’t allowed … in Buzz Fledderjohn’s yard” at 3:00am with Andrew and Tom Waits! … that was the highlight of my 2006 Tom Waits road trip and the last song of a night of “vaudevillian blues theatre”. It was a short walk down Cleveland’s vacant Euclid Avenue at 3:30 am to our hotel.


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  1. By Concerts I’ve Attended « Roscoe Dialogues on 05 Feb 2012 at 12:01 am

    […] Three Tom Waits concerts.. SUMMARY. […]

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