Hey, it’s a live album featuring songs from the last three albums over several live shows. At least I think it’s several live shows, because I sure bootlegged it! Okay Myles, what have you learned:
1) I learned that Tom Waits had an excellent new accordion-filled whimsical mourning song called “Strange Weather” that memorably features the line “all over the world / strangers talk only of the weather!” And how true it is.
2) I learned that production is, slyly, of paramount importance to Tom’s recordings. Stripped of their production differences the shows sound strangely tinny and samey and awry. It’s jarring and uncomfortable.
3) I learned that live albums should be featured at, at most, two or three shows, not the eight million featured here. It’s weird hearing the crowd noise fade out after each song like it wouldn’t at a real show.
4) I relearned that a lot of the songs from this period of Tom’s car ear work much better in context, especially the ones from ‘Frank’s Wild Years”.
5) I learned that fancying up “Way Down in the Hole” is unnecessary because it’s already a great song. Maybe he should have fancied up “Straight to the Top” or “Singapore” instead.
6) I learned that it’s easy to win my heart by having someone yell “we love you Tom!” at the final fade-out.
7) I learned that whatever. Just a live album.