Tom Waits live @ The Ratcellar in The Phoenix Park Dublin

Tom Waits live @ The Ratcellar, The Phoenix Park, Dublin Wednesday 30th, Thursday 31st and Friday 1st August. OK, OK, I went to all three concerts. I know I was in Paris at the Grande Rex gig, but this was preordained, a higher authority than me decreed that I would go. I’m not going to make any excuses, I love his music and I’m obsessed … what more can I say. The first album I ever bought with my hard earned cash (picking up bottles and generally cleaning out the local Grove Panoramic cinema as a child) was “Closing Time”, it cost me all my wages. I still have the album, on vinyl, a little scratchy, but a treasured possession nonetheless.

The first concert in Dublin on Wednesday 30th was planned. I camped out on The Net early the morning they went on sale. I got my tickets for Wednesday night. I didn’t plan on going Thursday and Friday because I had tickets for The Galway Races and it is THE event of the year in Ireland for “the craic”.

Then God intervened, and tickets came my way for the Friday night. The Galway Races were unceremoniously dumped. Another Caroline Brady, not me (and actually I’ve never met her, and she is no relation), purchased the tickets and then had to go to New York. Naturally, I couldn’t turn down the tickets when they had my name on them, now could I?

Then Thursday, well I just turned up at the gig and guess what, I got a ticket. See, there was no way to avoid it. The Universe always give you what you want.

OK, the Friday night gig in Paris was a bit of a blur because I was so excited at seeing Tom for the first time in nearly a quarter of a century.

Wednesday night, well it was Dublin and home so that meant the gig was always going to be good. Let’s see, he did pretty much everything he did in Paris, except he also did “Christmas Card from a Hooker”. It really rained, in buckets for “Make it Rain” …. Brilliant.

Thursday, well I’m getting really into it now and I loved “Invitation to the Blues”.

Friday, what can I say. We were ecstatic on the one hand and sad on the other. The last gig of the tour and, in my opinion, the best gig. He did “Blue Valentine”, “Heart of Saturday Night”, and then finally the last song “Lucky Day”. Two encores, I don’t know how many standing ovations. We gave him a standing ovation at the start of the gig when he came out on stage before he even spoke, the first time I’ve ever seen that for any artist.

Tom was dressed like a character out of “Waiting for Godot”, you know that Hobo look he favours, on the one hand tragic and on the other comic. The backdrop was similar to the Paris gig, lots of old fashioned Public Address speakers hanging from wires and loads of dust for him to kick up. He took centre stage, he stomped and growled, he was like a Ringmaster, he mesmerised, he hypnotised, he lured us in with his weird and strange stories conjured from God knows where, a demented, soulful, beautiful performance, a boundless imagination. His voice is pitch perfect, that wonderful deep gravel bass tone, it’s just gorgeous. The band were swinging, they grooved and rocked, so did we, we didn’t miss a beat. In Dublin he told us “you’ve worked together before, where are you tomorrow night?” “Where ever you are Tom!” was the response. I think he liked the idea of the Marquee (a really, really big circus tent in typical candy stripe style), it fitted perfectly the carnival vibe of the Glitter and Doom tour, and he enjoyed himself on stage. I suspect he’d like to run away to the Circus.

Which songs did I like the most, really all of them. Every single performance … excellent. I’m still ten feet off the ground and can’t believe, not only did I see Tom in Paris but I also saw him three times in Dublin. That’s all my wishes fulfilled for at least another twenty years.

And finally No, I wasn’t one of those who went up to the stage at the end of the gig when he shook hands with the audience. I’m not really into that kind of thing. I don’t collect autographs or want to meet and talk to the artists I like. I know I’m obsessed with his music, but I come from the old Irish tradition where we generally ignore the artists we like, if we don’t know them personally. What that means is that if I met Tom on the street in Dublin, which I have (George’s Street Arcade with his family), I walk by, maybe might nod a greeting as it would be rude otherwise. Although, actually the more I like someone, the more I leave them alone. It’s a respect thing. It’s his life after all, and he is so brilliant and has given so much in his music and performances, he deserves to enjoy his time without me annonying him. Anyway, he looked happy on Friday night shaking hands at the end of the gig. So if that was your thing, then I guess you were estatic.

Tom come back whenever you like, I’ll wait, you are worth it!

Here are the Set Lists for Tom Waits Glitter & Doom tour, the three nights at The Ratcellar in Dublin’s Phoenix Park:

Wednesday 30th July
Lucinda / Ain’t going down to the well no more
Raindogs / Russian Dance
Falling Down
On the other side of the world
I’ll shoot the moon
Cemetery Polka
Get behind the mule
Cold cold ground
Circus / Tabletop Joe
God’s away on business
Tom Traubert’s Blues
On the Nickel
Christmas Card from a Hooker in Minneapolis
a bit of House Where Nobody Lives
Innocent When You Dream
Lie to me
Hoist that Rag
Lost at the bottom of the world
Green grass
Down in the hole
Metropolitan Glide
Dirt in the ground
Make it rain

Jesus’ gonna be here
Eyeball Kid

Thursday 31st July
Lucinda / Ain’t going down to the well no more
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
Hold on

Friday 1st August
Lucinda / ain’t going down to the well no more
Raindogs / Russian Dance
Down in the hole
I’ll shoot the moon
Other side of the world
Falling Down
Jesus’ gonna be here
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

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

2nd Encore
Metropolitan Glide
Lucky Day