Record Review - Tom Waits: Glitter and Doom Live


From the first strangulated “aaargh” to its final, rumbling growl 16 songs and 73 minutes later, Tom Waits’ first official live album since 1988’s Big Time captures every oblique aspect of the singer/songwriter’s funhouse mirror persona. This 2008 tour document cherry-picks superb performances from his European and American dates (with two tracks recorded at Atlanta’s Fox Theatre on July 5, 2008) as Waits’ gargled-with-razor-blades voice slices through highlights and obscurities predominantly derived from his more recent catalog. A multitalented, five-piece band brings ragged yet sophisticated energy as the singer ignites audiences with his edgy carnival barker/drunken pirate vocals and tattered ballads of humanity’s forgotten everyman wandering down life’s darkened, seedy backstreets. While a DVD of his very visual style would have been a most appreciated addition, a bonus 40-minute disc of hilarious spoken patter helps provide a fuller representation of a typical Waits show in all its magnificently loopy glory. 5 out of 5 stars