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Live Review: Tom Waits at the Ratcellar – Dublin, Ireland

Posted by on Jul 31, 2008 | Comments (46)

Greetings from the drizzly grey skies of Dublin, Ireland, where last night I saw the greatest Tom Waits show I’ve ever seen, hands down, holy shit, it was INCREDIBLE.

We actually saw Tom Waits and his wife Kathleen on the street in downtown Dublin yesterday, before the show, coming out of the Georges Arcade. Said hi, kept walking. Running into them on the street isn’t such a rare thing back home in California, but it is a truly surreal thing on the other side of the world.

You want surreal? How about a six-tiered circus tent in the middle of a park? ‘Cause that’s where Waits played last night. Christened “The Ratcellar,” it was every bit the Barnum & Bailey spectacle you’d think: purple and yellow stripes, a grand marqueed entrance, red velvet curtains, raked seating on all sides. Built just for these shows, Waits booked three nights here, under the big top.

Tom Waits must really love Dublin. The strolling around town, the building of a special tent, the three-night stand—and undoubtedly one of the greatest shows he’s ever performed. Two and a half hours, 26 songs—the set list, below, was unbelievable—and most of the time, he made the enormous tent of 3,000 feel like an intimate parlor. He certainly seemed honored, and more than a little grateful, to be in Dublin.

Tickets to the show were 138 Euro—about $215 each (the highest price I’ve ever paid for tickets). There was a lot of grumbling about this in Dublin. After the show last night, I can’t imagine anyone grumbling about it anymore.

Waits came out to thunderous applause, threw himself and his band into “Lucinda,” and we were off and running. “Raindogs” was a good sign right afterwards, and it soon became apparent that the set had changed drastically from the time I saw him last month in Phoenix: “The Other Side of the World,” from the film Night on Earth, with an excellent flamenco-guitar solo by Omar Torrez, and “I’ll Shoot the Moon” from The Black Rider, with a please-call-me-baby long spiel mocking modern telephone communication. “Your phone is also a camera,” Waits quipped, “but my sunglasses are also a tricycle.”

“This is a song about family reunions,” Waits said next. “I hate family reunions. There’s so much family there. All these people I’ve been avoiding all year show up. . . Uncle Bill, I owe him money. Look away. No, wait, he owes me money! Get his ass over here. And of course, the infamous. . .”—and starting “Cemetery Polka”—“Uncle Vernon, Uncle Vernon, independent as a hog on ice. . . “

“Singapore” wrapped up with Waits falling over horizontally and banging like a kid on the highest keys of a toy piano, ending with a gargantuan gong-like thud that rumbled dramatically throughout the tent, which became the perfect venue for a long, spoken-word freeform about the circus. As the band played “Russian Waltz” in the background, Waits spun taut yarns about carnival characters such as Yodeling Elaine, Funeral Wells, Little Tiny, Poodle Murphy and Tripod (“how he got the name Tripod is another story altogether”). Interspersed with a snippet of “Tabletop Joe,” the inspired number ended with Waits shouting, like a howling broken wino, “Leave the bum! Leave the bum! Leave the bum!”

True to tradition, Waits dissected the various laws, both real and imagined, native to Dublin: “A lot has changed since I was here last,” he said. “It’s now illegal to force a monkey to smoke in Dublin, for example. And it’s against the law to get a fish drunk here! I used to come here just for that.”

Pointing out that the beginnings to many of his songs sound the same, Waits plowed into “God’s Away on Business,” one of many newer songs that benefited from fresh arrangements. Being on the road has invigorated Waits’ more recent material; they’re looser, more open. They breathe more. “Metropolitan Glide,” “Hoist That Rag,” “Lie To Me”—I saw these songs last month in Phoenix and they’ve changed, drastically, for the better. “Hoist That Rag,” in particular, was amazing, with beautiful Stravinskyesque piano solos by Dublin’s own Patrick Warren, possessed electric guitar soloing by Torrez, and blistering saxophone work by a rejuvenated Vincent Henry, playing and joking astride Waits’ youngest son Sullivan on second tenor sax.

On the subject of the band, I gotta say, Casey Waits on drums has come through like no one could have ever imagined. Much like Denardo Coleman backing up Ornette, it seemed a novelty at first, back when Casey was 14—but now, Casey’s grown into his own, and he’s perfect for his dad’s behind-the-beat style. Kudos, my friend. And bassist Seth Ford-Young, who came in just a week or so before the tour to replace Larry Taylor, very well may have secured himself a permanent place in the band. He’s excellent.

The band was given a break when Waits sat down at the piano to deliver the highlight of the night. “This was a request. . .” he announced. “. . . my own request.” A beautiful, beautiful “Tom Traubert’s Blues” ensued, to a ridiculously wild standing ovation. It didn’t stop there. “On the Nickel,” an overlooked gem from Heartattack and Vine, came next, and then “Christmas Card From a Hooker in Minneapolis,” which slaughtered the sentimental hearts of everyone in the crowd. He started “House Where Nobody Lives,” but then ditched it. “That’s a short one,” he said, “sometimes the short ones are the best. Why don’t we do one we can all sing on?” Alas: “Innocent When You Dream.”

“Green Grass” had Waits in a low whisper, while “Lie to Me” brought him strutting around his dusty pedestal. “Dirt in the Ground” was played in a striking new meter, sort of a 6/8 over a 4/4, as Waits loosely whispered the words in a low, ominous tone, and “Make it Rain” became a self-fulfilling prophecy: the tent started pattering away with raindrops from above. Long, drawn-out, and heavenly, the song came to a close with Waits cupping his hands to his mouth and shouting “Make it rain!” back up to the obliging sky. Upon the final chord, a hailstorm of glitter showered down from the top of the tent. “Good night!” said Waits, and as the crowd bumrushed the stage, he made his way across the entire front row, reaching out over the edge and touching hands with the devoted, clearly overwhelmed.

The three-song encore ended with “Time,” and there was no more perfect way to end the night—except, perhaps, wandering out into the raining Dublin night with 3,000 other fans utterly dumbfounded with bliss. It was about a mile-long walk to the nearest pub to meet up with our ride, and we were soaked. It didn’t matter. Last night was simply one of the greatest shows I’ve ever been to, and worth every step through every rainy night in any blustery city in the world.

————————
Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Set List:

Lucinda / Ain’t Goin’ Down to the Well
Raindogs
Falling Down
On the Other Side of the World
I’ll Shoot the Moon
Cemetery Polka
Get Behind the Mule
Cold Cold Ground
Singapore
Circus / Tabletop Joe
God’s Away on Business
Tom Traubert’s Blues
On the Nickel
Christmas Card From a Hooker in Minnneapolis
House Where Nobody Lives (false start)
Innocent When You Dream
Lie to Me
Hoist that Rag
Bottom of the World
Green Grass
Way Down in the Hole
Metropolitan Glide
Dirt in the Ground
Make it Rain
-
Jesus Gonna Be Here
Eyeball Kid
Time


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45 comments

  1. Greg
    July 31, 2008

    I have to disagree. 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 environment.

    I have no doubt that we’ll now be inundated with Tom Waits purists who rubbish my comments. I’m a musician myself and as a musician have to have at least some consideration of what the 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.

    That 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.

    Reply
  2. Brian McMahon
    July 31, 2008

    I was there too. I’d never seen him before – been waiting about 20years!!! It was an unbelieveable night. I was completely and utterly blown away, and you’re right – the rain and huge walk afterward didn’t dampen it at all!

    Reply
  3. mojoarrow
    July 31, 2008

    the best show i have ever seen i was in the front row block a row a it does not get any better i had to pinch myself if it was real i was in front of tom waits i even blagged my way into the marquee at 5 pm when he was rehearsing make it rain he had his back to me he was stumming away then a nice girl in a white cardigan said your not supposed to be in here to which i replied i did not say i was i then left and joined the queue. an unbeleivable set list all my favourites except chocolate jesus ,all the real gone tracks i like .lucinda was a better opener than i thought as i had seen the palladium set list i am 46 i was sitting beside a guy from england who was 21 years of age he had seen the two edingburgh gigs the prvious two night s and was in dublin for two gig now thats dedication for you got some great pics . i never thoght i would see tom waits in my lifetime im a happy happy man now just got to see the gotan project and thts all i want now .but anyone that has never een tom waits and is a fan i relly feel for you as it surpassed my dreams of just how good this genius relly is thank you tom for the night of my life cheers mojoarrow

    Reply
  4. Carrie
    July 31, 2008

    Bravo!! A great review for a fantastic performance. I was there last night (wed 30th) in the Ratceller and I was one of the wildly applauding audience. The best performance I have ever seen. Worth every cent. We had the same half hour walk in the rain to get a taxi but it was all worth it! Thank you Tom!! Come back soon, x

    Reply
  5. JPR
    July 31, 2008

    Agree with all in review. Fabulous gig. Electric sugar indeed.

    Tip for tonight & tomorrow’s attendees – after gig, leave the tent, turn left (walk along grass around the visitor’s centre bending left) and walk along the small road, leading to the main park road parallel to Blackhorse Ave. Turn right along this road and exit the park at the first small gate you see on your left. This will bring you directly to Cumiskey’s pub – about 5 minutes after leaving the concert.

    Reply
  6. Mhairead
    July 31, 2008

    Oh well Greg maybe next time don’t bother buying a ticket, I think you will find you are in the minority as regards your experience. I saw him in Edinburgh on Sunday and he was phenomenal, I have been a long time fan, well over twenty years and I loved the set list, I loved hearing his new material and the re-interpreting of his work live was extraordinary, two songs merged together, Lucinda and Well from Orphans as an opener had me sitting up and taking notice. Of course I am bias but I was also dulling my expectations down as I waited just in case I was let down, but that was not to be the case, deep inside I knew it would be a night to remember and it was, full of Glitter and Doom, there are few performers today who can entertain to the level that Tom can, he, and his incredible band took me straight to the top. Thank you Tom and family, come back soon, please.

    Reply
  7. AOH
    July 31, 2008

    Well,I wasn’t at the Tom Waits gig last night!! In La Paz,Bolivia at the end of a 4 week holiday which was booked before gigs announced.Have always wanted to see Tom Waits and Leonard Cohen live in Ireland.Wasn’t disappointed with L.C.in June.Only really like 5 songs from last nights Waits set list but have nearly all of his albums!!Surprised he didnt play more from Raindogs and Closing Time.Still though good he came to Dublin after 20 years.Maybe he should have included South America on his tour.There are enough gringos here and in Peru who would like to see Tom live!!
    Will be curious to read reviews of next two nights!

    Reply
  8. Gary
    July 31, 2008

    You have no idea what you have just witnessed
    Those who slept should be shot
    I saw him in Paris – and returned the next day to book for the next available, Dublin.
    Frank settled down out in the valley, and he hung his wild years on a nail that he drove through his wife’s forehead

    Reply
  9. maurice
    July 31, 2008

    greg as a musician i hope i never have the pleasure of listening to your music if you cannot see what we saw last night and hear what we heard. tom waits could change his set every night for the remainder of his tour and no one would be short changed , or is that small changed sorry could not resist that one.i am still pinching myself over last night and im 46 years of age. thanx carrie for the pat on the back for my review yes im mojoarrow.we all had songs that we love that he did not use like road to peace /little drop of poison/whats he building i could go on i think people should just be thankfull that they have witnessed the modern day poet in all its entirety

    Reply
  10. Pádraig
    July 31, 2008

    That is the greatest setlist I have ever seen. It nearly makes me sick to think that I wasn’t there. I’m going tomorrow, Friday the last tour date and I can only pray that he will be that good. I don’t understand how I feel. I want to cry. Oh its 00:04 am. Today is Friday. Today is going to be the best day of my life.

    Reply
  11. Gabe
    July 31, 2008

    Greg – and anyone upset with the set list – I think the thing to remember is that it’s not 1978 anymore, and if Waits had played a set of your favorite ballads it would have been as hackneyed as Tom Jones strolling out his tired hits. Waits is an artist and artists evolve. Getting stuck in the past, no matter how great that past may be, is a cliche.

    I’ve certainly felt similar feelings about Waits’ set lists. In Phoenix, Arizona last month, I hated the set list – way too much ‘Real Gone’ material. In terms of the current tour, the set list on Wednesday night was a godsend. It could’ve been far worse, buddy.

    Keep in mind that even though they’re not piano songs, ‘I’ll Shoot the Moon,’ ‘On the Other Side of the World’ and others are still beautiful ballads. And ‘Time’ is one of the most touching songs ever written.

    Ultimately, we have to give true artists a bit of leeway on their set lists. Every time I’ve seen Springsteen, Dylan, even Sinatra, I’ve spent at least some time wishing they had chosen different material. I can’t help it; I’m a fan. But these people are not puppets for our string-pulling pleasure. They’re artists. Tom Waits is one of the finest artists of our time – that’s why you liked him in the first place, and it’s best to treat him as such.

    Thanks for all your comments, everyone. My visit in Dublin has been spectacular, and you’ve done your country proud.

    Reply
  12. JR
    July 31, 2008

    Boring gig. Left early. Lots of morons saying “I’ve waited 20 years for this gig”, meaning therefore it is not permitted to speak or stand up. Bar closed throughout the gig which is a little ironic for a man of Tom Waits’ persona who is so inspired by tramps and drunks that he would refuse to perform to them.
    Fair enough, he is not my favourite artist, and if I had gone to see my favourite artist perform, I would have been happy enough if they played a load of B-sides. But artists are being more and more self-indulgent (example Neil Young this year also) and avoiding the favourites and best-known songs and I think that is unfair to everyone. Would you be happy to go to a van Gogh exhibition and only see sketches? No, so price accordingly. Personally, I think Tom Waits dates in Dublin are a money racket, a bit like the Barnum & Bailey roadshow referred to above. But if people are happy, that’s genuinely good. And I don’t give a damn, so please avoid the temptation of conveying me your sympathies.

    Reply
  13. shirley
    August 1, 2008

    what songs do you mean?! he played loads of ‘old favourites’ from that list! and he wasn’t one of your favourite artists? you must be loaded. save the money next time and let people who really want to be there go.

    i was at last night’s show. bloody amazing. for a peformer who didn’t rely on fancy decor or a big light show i’d say he is one of the best entertainers i’ve ever seen. self indulgent? were you at the same show as me?!

    Reply
  14. Andy
    August 1, 2008

    amazing to see complaints from individuals who clearly can’t see the wood for the trees…..i would have loved to have been there, Edinburgh or Dublin but sadly i couldn’t get a ticket & flatly refused to play the crazy ebay game either. luckily i managed to see Tom back in 2004 at London where a friend & i were offered £500 each for our tickets, we declined but the performance was worth that, and more besides. the bar at Hammersmith closed at 8pm when the gig started, but if it’s ale you want perhaps you should have stayed in the pub & allowed someone else the opportunity….don’t expect the next gig anytime soon !!!

    Reply
  15. john cray
    August 1, 2008

    I attended the concert with my a good friend who only had a passing knowledge of Tom Waits material and we were both utterly captivated from the first note till last.
    I recall the last gig on the Olympia 22 years ago and thought that the songs were not crowd pleasers.All The set included songs using experimental percussion and a megaphone and lamp attached to the mike
    I had gone to the previous Olypia concert in 1982 when Tom played all the favourites from all his albums up to Small Change ( I think!).
    I loved the set list on this tour as tom touched on songs from nearl all the era`s of his career.
    We thoroughly loved the concert and the part the Dublin audience played in an amazing concert experience.

    Reply
  16. sabz
    August 1, 2008

    Thankyou Gabe for the blow by blow account and pics of the gig, reading it is rubbing salt in my wounds, I’m absolutely gutted I couldn’t get tickets to any of his Dublin gigs. He is a musical genius.

    Reply
  17. Mary
    August 1, 2008

    I was lucky enough to see Tom Waits in Atlanta and now I’m going to see him tonight Friday in Dublin. We failed to get tickets the last time he played here and this time we were making sure we didn’t miss him.The Atlanta show was the most amazing performance I have ever seen. When he came on stage the buzz you felt from the audience was incredible, everyone felt so lucky to be there and be part of something they knew would be special. He didn’t dissapoint.From start to finish he had us in the palm of his hands. The band was also super and the Fox Theatre was something else. We are going tonight to enjoy ourselves and I can’t imagine being dissapointed and if we get wet so what we won’t shrink.
    M and M

    Reply
  18. Alvy Ronson
    August 1, 2008

    To some extent I agree with Greg, having travelled from London to see the show I was expecting a little more of a show given the ticket price. I can’t understand why it cost so much and can only think of it as profiteering on TW’s part. There was nothing more than a 6 piece band and a big top. I too am a musician and was hoping to see the type of bass playing that has continually inspired me but it was not to be. This was the first time i had been able to see Tom Waits so i was probably expecting too much.

    I did enjoy the gig, thought the set list was a bit toward the obscurer numbers, though he did play the 2 i was hoping to hear. This was a huge mix of greatness and disappointment for me, having failed to get tickets for his last London show and him not playing England at all on this trip, I hoped this would make up for it. I liked it but did not love it as I have loved TW on his records.

    Reply
  19. GJ
    August 1, 2008

    I went with a good friend who is a massive fan. Having heard his music over the last 10 years I never quite got it… Now I do !!
    Amazing performance, fantastic atmosphere, a definate ledgend, self indulgent? I didnt notice, too busy enjoying every minute.

    minor point but I have never seen so many weak bladders in my life at a gig but they all came back singing all the words as they made their way back to their seats so I guess its just an unusual fan base ?

    Thank you Tom x

    Reply
  20. pp, staffordshire, uk
    August 1, 2008

    I for one ( make that 2,997 ) would happily exchange my hard earned pounds ( converted to euro ) to visit this amazing country with my passport again. Glitter and Boom in Pheonix Park? Its another world never mind another country. I’ve just slogged my through a ten hour shift and I’m still on a high from the opening night. Thanks Tom. Thanks Dublin.

    Reply
  21. DM Harrow
    August 2, 2008

    Flight delayed by 3 hours arrived in Dublin at 17:30. Bus to the city, booked into the hotel, cab straight to gig. Was it worth the stress. YESSSS, it was fantastic, but I did have a front row ticket.

    It should have been called the weak bladder tour, maybe its the age of the audience, one beer, one trip to the toilet. Unlucky for me as I sat next to a couple of blokes who had 5 pints each.

    Don’t worry if you missed the concert, he’ll be back in 2028.

    Reply
  22. Catherine Cavan
    August 2, 2008

    I wasnt a huge fan of tom waits only had one of his albums .Thought his tickets were quite expensive, but was lucky to get two tickets for the Thursday nite show.
    I was totaly blown away with his concert and I wouldnt be familiar with any of his new albums.
    I thought his show was really amazing .What a performer.
    I said to my husband if there is anyone who wasnt happy with his show there is something wrong with them .
    Well worth the money.
    Catherine

    Reply
  23. steve
    August 2, 2008

    Greg – you obviously didn’t like the show, and that is your perogative. However your argument about more people leaving during the show than normal is not true. In my native London I am a promoter and regularly oversee shows of this size from mixing desks, and the ocasional video tower. I can assure you that you will always get that sort of movement in a large crowd, the difference here is that the big-top being neccessarily well lit (health and safety is a cruel mistress at times), the crowd movement was all too visible. I’ve seen crowds of 500 be more unsettled than this, in my experience this was a very reverent crowd.

    Anyhow, I loved the show and thought it was well worth the ticket price. So, evidently, did majority of the crowd.

    Reply
  24. Vanessa
    August 2, 2008

    Great review, Gabe. If I had been there I’m sure it would have been nothing short of life changing.

    Reply
  25. Verbal Kint
    August 2, 2008

    I attended the thursday night gig after travelling from Liverpool and facing a long list of unbelievable obstacles and difficulties, and i have to say i loved every minute of it. Seeing Tom for the first time made all the trouble (and the expense) seem worth it and it saddens me that some people are so negative about the set list…is it even possible to please everyone when you have a back catalogue as big as Tom’s?? I mean come on, the guy played two and a half hours so he gave pepole every opportunity to hear tracks that they like. If you still aren’t happy after that maybe you don’t really like him as much as you think you do, so next time don’t bother and then real fans like me wont have to do as much blagging to get tickets. If anyone has a set list for the thursday night performance i’d be very grateful because i’m quite new to Tom (in comparison to the long term fans) so am not totally up to speed with all the track titles. Here’s hoping he tours round this way again soon (or in Liverpool would be even better!!).

    Reply
  26. Mick
    August 3, 2008

    Hi I was lucky enough to go to all three nights in Dublin(Used up all brownie points with wife1)-each night was different and had a great mix of his work–I preferred Thursday’s show closely followed by Wednesday’s and with Friday’s a nose behind. All three were fantastic-I was not disappointed. I had seen Tom on his last Ireland trip back in 1987 at the Olympia – there are eleven or so songs from this period and before- surely this was enough to satisfy the old school -Tom is now at university and his work since “Franks wild years” has been an aural treasure throve of sound ,clangs bangs and beautiful sentiment .Having followed him for years the assorted setlists hit the bulleye each time.
    For those who loved the shows -pitch a tent in your garden -download the podcast of the show from Atlanta(Link on tom waits.com) and relive the dream !!

    Reply
  27. Tom Unwaits
    August 3, 2008

    Hi all. Greats comments re Tom’s Dublin gigs. I had a ticket for the Friday night show butt didn’t make it as I was too pissed. The [Real Gone]Tom Waits would have approved I’m sure. Hasn’t written a classic since Johnsburg Illinois butt then hasn’t needed to as ‘ye can’t unsing a song’. Hope he comes back to Dublin soon as it’s his round.

    Reply
  28. Dave - Dublin
    August 3, 2008

    Thursday night set list. Ratcellar,Dublin.

    Lucinda
    Down in the hole
    Come on up the house
    The bottom of the world
    Jockey full of bourbon
    Chocolate Jesus
    Misery is the river of the world
    Picture in a frame
    Tango till they’re sore
    Invitation to the blues
    House where nobody lives
    Innocent when you dream
    Lie to me
    Sixteen shells from a thirty-ought six
    9th & Hennepin
    Black market baby
    Trampled rose
    Hoist that rag
    All the world is green
    Hang down your head
    Raindogs/Russian Dance
    Make it rain
    —-
    Heart attack and vine
    November
    Hold on

    ————————————–
    Friday Night set list Ratcellar,Dublin.

    Lucinda
    Raindogs/Russian Dance
    Down in the hole
    I’ll shoot the moon
    Other side of the world
    Falling Down
    Jesus’ gonna be here

    – TW on Piano –
    Tom Traubert’s Blues
    Heart of Saturday Night
    Lost in the Harbor
    House Where Nobody Lives
    Innocent When you Dream

    Hoist That Rag
    Cemetery Polka
    Green Grass
    Long Way Home
    Lie to Me
    Blue Valentines
    Trampled Rose
    Eyeball Kid
    Going Out West
    God’s Away on Business
    Make it Rain

    – Encore –
    16 Shells from a thirty-ought six
    Heigh Ho
    Dirt in the Ground

    – 2nd Encore –
    Metropolitan Glide
    Lucky Day

    Reply
  29. ringo
    August 3, 2008

    love waits, hated the show,spent more time outside crying into my cinder toffee, the pa system in the venue was far too small and the sound mix was terrible. we were sat back in block b, where the rain on the roof of the tent was louder than the band. i felt deflated about half thru the first song. im a soundman by trade, a musician and a music lover and know for a fact that the pa was nowhere near the size needed for a venue of its size. so a big thank you to ticketmaster, aitken promotions and tom waits management for not having a fucking clue. they’ll be laughing all the way to the bank. you wont see a negative review of waits in the papers as they cant see the ‘wood for the trees’ as one previous commentator has already stated. real disappointment but still had a great time in dublin. real shame – and like toms voice – real gone!

    Reply
  30. ringo
    August 3, 2008

    all that clapping reminded me of maplins – hi de hi campers!

    Reply
  31. Gabe
    August 3, 2008

    Unbelievable – Friday night’s set list – ‘Blue Valentine’ AND ‘Heart of Saturday Night’?! Sweet fucking mother of God!

    A nice touch ending with ‘One Lucky Day.’ Hopefully he’ll be back, or better yet, hopefully he’ll play in the Bay Area again! I’m broke from flying all over the place to see him.

    Reply
  32. Michael
    August 3, 2008

    Dave, thanks for the set list from Friday night. Didn’t he play ‘Ol 55 as well?

    Reply
  33. Dave - Dublin
    August 3, 2008

    Michael: Nah, if he did I must have fallen asleep for those few minutes :) although I do remember one person behind me saying ” Wow hes doing 55 ” when he was actually singing Heart of Saturday Night.

    Reply
  34. ADRIAN
    August 4, 2008

    With regard to Gregs comments.You keep mentioning ‘playing the songs that people want to hear’ without actually listing those songs.
    How do you know what the ‘people wanted to hear?I was delighted with the set list and was very impressed when Thursdays set had only seven songs played the night before.In total,over the three nights,he played something like 60 different tunes.
    If,as you say,the artist should play what the people want.Surely this means the most popular tunes?Or,put it another way,the biggest sellers.Given that he has sold more recently than ever before than playing material from Mule…,Alice,Blood Money,Real Gone and Orphans was ‘what the people wanted’.
    As for the two that fell asleep?A friend of mine fell asleep at a Lou Reed gig once.Was Lou boring?No.Was my friend drunk?Yes.
    And,as for the ‘ but it was all about Waits’comment?It was hardly going to be all about anyone else was it?

    Reply
  35. ADRIAN
    August 4, 2008

    Ringo.The sound was poor at first on Wednesday but improved as the night went on.A lot of opening nights have sound issues particularly when playing unorthodox venues such as a big top.I thought they cleared up the problems pretty quickly and it didn’t spoil my night(by the way,we must have been sitting in or around the same place-I could hear the rain as well)

    Reply
  36. ADRIAN
    August 4, 2008

    JR,if you were so upset about the bar being shut why didn’t you just p*ss off to the pub?As for playing to drunks and tramps,there were plenty of drunks in the room and I was delighted when drunken, annoying, little prick was thrown out on Friday night.And why would you want to talk during the gig?

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  37. gripminster schoolboy
    August 4, 2008

    as for ticket prices well why not charge £100 or so – if they were £40 they’d have been hoovered up and sold on ebay for over £100 anyway… it cost £100 to go to the opera, it can cost nearly £100 to go to a premiership football match… everybody’s downloading music for free – artists have to make a living…

    Reply
  38. WilliamtheWildOne
    August 8, 2008

    Anyone who did not enjoy the Tom Waits shows is not a true Tom Waits fan.. end of story. I saw the Friday night gig and am still buzzing from the magic a week later. I saw Tom back in 2006 in Detroit, a great show, but his Dublin performance far surpassed it. The man is a true genius and a legend. Thanks Tom!

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  39. KGotth
    August 9, 2008

    I have some pictures from the third night in Dublin here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/troublez/
    enjoy!!!!Best concert in my life.

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  40. buzzer
    August 10, 2008

    Saw Tom on friday night and I have to say the sound was not great (check out his Atlanta show) but it was a treat all the same to see the man live. And those wankers who booed at the end after 2 encores, were an embarrasment.

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  41. The Urban Slacker
    August 13, 2008

    well I Class myself as one of the very lucky people to be at the Ratcellar on the first night and it was probably in fact deffinetly the best show I have ever seen, I am a serious Tom waits fan and I dont think any setlist would have dissapointed me. as I happen to like all his songs yes there one some I did not here and there were others I did not expect to here, as for the sound the first song a little quiet but it just got better and better, Im also a Sound Engineer and i was sitting in block B, I think the system they used for the show was great and remember the size of the rig can be very deceving with the way technology has moved foward and considering the weather changed so drastically over the coarse of the show I think the engineer did a great job and i told him so, I have waited a long time to see Tom Waits and it was worth the wait. THanks for agreat gig that i will remeber for the rest of my life

    cheers Tom & band all the other people involved it was fantastic

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  42. Dave
    August 20, 2008

    I’m laughing my ass off at all the comments, great stuff lads. Saw Waits on the Wednesday night. Drove from Limerick, brought my fiancee (who hadn’t a clue who Waits was or his music) along for the show. She fell asleep in the car listening to a carefully selected cd of Waits’ piano tracks (quiet ones) and my plan of leading her into a false sense of security worked. When Waits started Lucinda, my fiancee nearly fainted with laughter. She literally doubled over with laughter. She thought it was a joke. She turned around at one stage and laughed uncontrollably into the faces of all the “muso’s” and die hard fans telling them they were idiots-she thought the whole affair was hilarious. She made me start laughing my ass off too. Great! She thought he sounded like a wild boar lost in the woods. She’s right of course on many levels. Overall it was great to see old Waits and his sarcastic take on life. Verdict: It was an experience. Greg is right of course and so are the rest of ye. PS: The comment from Ringo (the deaf sound man)-The sound for Wed night’s gig was perfect. (Hope you weren’t at Neil Young in Cork recently-Sound was a ‘piece of crap’ literally. Not good Neil). Anyway, Ringo, you always were the most talented of the Beatles, weren’t you? Cool name too.

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  43. Michael
    September 8, 2008

    I was at the first night and would like to say thank you for a review that puts in writing the way i felt about the show, truely fantastic. I am only 20 but still would have most of toms material and cant believe people are complaining about anything at all, sound perfect, mix of tracks from different stages in his career Excellent, performance from band as a whole AAA, the sound of the heavy rain on the tent during make it rain. Oh how it touched me! on to ticket prices, take into account the size of the venue(tiny), the greedy promoters (just look at the prices for everything else goin on in dublin/eire), and also a mate of mine was in europe while it was on and saw him in prague, and the tickets were 30euro less, all in all ,i’d pay double what we did to see a show of that quality again

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  44. L.D. Freitas
    September 30, 2008

    I saw Waits in Saint Louis, and it as quite early in the tour, and his voice seemed to sound a lot better than later in the tour, as he seemed to sing with a wider range in his voice, whether using the hoarse-bark or loung-act whisper. I noticed the difference listening to the Atlanta show on National Public Radio, America’s version of the BBC, a concert some two weeks after I saw him. I’m bringing this up because I would have been a bit disappointed in going to any concerts soon after the one I saw, and I had flown out from California because I wasn’t able to get a Pheonix ticket. I think this tour took a toll on his voice, as he wasn’t exactly singing in tune on many of the songs on the vidoes I saw on YouTube of the Dublin concerts. Perhaps trying to sound like Howlin’ Wolf and Louis Armstrong all these years has caught up to him. I also noticed that he did some of his older material (pre Swordfishtrombones) on some tour stops, and not on others as in Saint Louis. I would have liked him to have sung “Invitation To The Blues” or “Christmas Card from A Hooker In Minneapolis.” So I’m glad that I saw the show I did, and that he and his band played excellently! “Make It Rain” and “Lie To Me” were my favorties. I could have seen him back in the late 70′s, and so I can say now i did finally see him, and would hope to see him again, but I know to get an early tour date ticket!

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  45. Andy
    July 8, 2009

    The man’s a legend…thanks for the great review of the night. You brought back some memories to me. I’ve seen Waits 5 times now and he never disappoints. Hopefully he’ll come our way again some day. For some more memories of the Dublin gigs see here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/pandas/sets/72157606495731048/

    Reply

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