Tom Waits in Tennessee

Bill C and I met in Nashville, drove to Memphis, saw Tom, drove the next day to Nashville, saw Tom, got up the next day and flew home.

Random notes scribbled in my date book:

Avis: no sedans, free upgrade to a Trail Blazer
Nashville to Memphis: 3 hrs@80mph
Gatorade Gandhi jar; torn up luggage for missing thang
Parked, locked bags in lobby, dashed to the Orpheum

Set List:

  1. Singapore (video)
  2. Make it Rain
  3. Hoist That Rag
  4. Shore Leave
  5. Ain’t Going to the Well
  6. Yesterday is Here
  7. God’s Away on Business
  8. Til’ the Money Runs Out
  9. 219 (My Baby’s Leaving on the)
  10. Dead and Lovely
  11. Tango Till They’re Sore
  12. House Where Nobody Lives
  13. The Ocean Doesn’t Want Me (Bobby Darin Remix)
  14. Invitation to the Blues
  15. Whistling Past the Graveyard
  16. Heart Attack and Vine (with Spoonful by Willy Dixon)
  17. Shake It
  18. It Rains on Me (the Chuck E. Weiss song)
  19. Circus
  20. Trampled Rose
  21. Get Behind the Mule
  22. Murder in the Red Barn
  23. Going out West


  1. Day after Tomorrow (short clip)
  2. Sins of the Father

Back to the hotel, caged 2 beers (each) off the closed-up bar

Checking the Tom vlogs.

Natty Dred panhandling dude walked with us for a couple blocks: “Akida! He go “RRRRRRRRR!” “Jap’nese dog! M’tink, RRRRRRR!!!”

Delicious beer at the Flying Saucer:
Bill – Avery IPA
Jordan – Avery Yellow Rascal
Shared – O’Hanlon Port Stout (I agree w/Doppleganger on Ratebeer)

Bourbon St/6th St/Vegas silliness. Very little vestige of WC Handy, et al.

Ducked into a nameless hole in the wall
2 Flying Dog Doggy Styles (pale ale)
LOUD Zappa Cover band

Vendors down a side alley: shades, Shea cream, condoms and Viagra

Bikes and choppers galore
“Bill, check it out: that’s the lead guitarist from the Zappa band we just saw.”
“Dude, Zappa rocks!” “Uh, am I being insulted?”

Hey now, Rasta! Again! Where can we buy some beer? “Akida! RRRRRRR!”
Wandering down the dark, boarded-up streets of Memphis, no beer in sight
3am at Denny’s (where white people get seated first, apparently); breakfast & int’l politics

Crash at 4
Up at 10 (to Bill’s 2-packet coffee, shower)

The Sun Studios snack bar and gift shop
(Where’s my camera?)

Grand (where-the-f***-are-we) tour of lovely run-aground Memphis neighborhoods (think Anacostia meets Nuevo Laredo)

Driving by Graceland, feeling sad.

Starving, discovering a delicious Mexican restaurant (that may as well have been in Laredo; the waitress spoke no English)

The Statue of Bigotry

Here it is, drving by the front lawn of megachurch: a giant green Lady Liberty holding aloft a big ‘ol crucifix. Emma Lazarus is turning in her grave. Which would be a neat trick if she was cremated.


Bill scored us a room at the Shereton.

The beautiful blonde Russian receptionist (her first day on the job, poor thing) informed us that our room wasn’t “ready”. Bill gave her a good-natured snarl, and she hooked us up with a penthouse Club Suite (no elevator button: member keys only). Upgrade #2.


The room was two blocks from the Ryman.

We wrangled our heavily-guarded tix, then went into the first good beer joint we could find. Had me a hemp ale or two, bill the IPAs.

Booked it back to the room, got prepped for the concert.


The Ryman Theater

Excruciatingly excellent show. For music and history geeks like us, one of the more important acts in America. Arguably the world.

The web site said it better than I could ever:

I just wanted to add my two cents here and say that the Ryman show was unbelievable. I had really enjoyed Memphis, but this show just blew it away. The band just seemed infused with twice as much energy and everything just seemed to be lined up for a great show. Not to mention, the setting just couldn’t be better. To me, the really stand out performances were Tom Traubert’s blues and a highly comedic performance of What’s He Building in There, but really everything was great.

Set List:

  1. Make It Rain
  2. Hoist that Rag
  3. Shore Leave
  4. God’s Away on Business
  5. All the World is Green
  6. Blue Valentine
  7. Down in the Hole
  8. Cemetery Polka
  9. Tom Traubert’s Blues
  10. House Where Nobody Lives
  11. Cause of It All/Til’ the Money Runs Out Medley
  12. Murder in the Red Barn
  13. Shake It
  14. What’s He Building in There
  15. Trampled Rose
  16. Get Behind the Mule
  17. Don’t Go Into that Barn
  18. It Rains on Me
  19. Sins of the Father
  20. Goin’ Out West


  1. Day After Tomorrow
  2. Heart Attack And Vine/Spoonful Medley

Ate a late dinner in the closest brewpub (Big River). Good pizza, decent beer. Stumbled around buying presents in tacky-rific souvenir shops for the ladies.

300 feet above Nashville at night. Giddy from the show and caught up in the zoomzoom of the evening, Bill went snap-happy with his camera.

I became sleepy. I am old. This was me at 4:30 when the first alarm went off. Bill’s plane left at 6. Mine at 9. In the morning.

Published in: on August 9, 2006 at 8:24 pm  Leave a Comment  

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