Before the show started there was music playing - sounded a bit odd. No surprise here but it was actually coming out of this large array of megaphone/bullhorns! A mono signal with only mids, no lows or highs, sounded like a bad dream!
Tom is really on his game for this tour. I saw him last year at the Tabernacle in Atlanta and this year's show was ten times better. Great staging, sound, theatrics. Fantastic show! The band was excellent and at times sounded like a small orchestra and Tom was doing a sort of Waits only style of conducting. Sometimes reminded me of a warped Broadway production!
He was up on a small circular stage that looked like a piece of antique discarded circus equipment and the lighting circle overhead was tilted so the shadows it cast were long and eerie. Tom looked like he was a skinny 7 feet tall. Around the stage he was on were some small round lights that reminded me of a rundown midway - they were a little crooked and none of them ever seemed to be lit all at once.
Casey Waits played drums and had a huge kit with tons of odd ball things around it. The keyboard player had a couple keyboards sitting inside of a hollowed out B3 looking cabinet. Some of the sounds were bizarre as you might expect. It was actually very cool how close the sound was to the strange atmospheres on his records.
Thee was a guy out front who played sax (sometimes two at once), harmonica, and guitar. Sullivan Waits came out and joined him a couple times playing clarinet. Must be odd touring with your dad and playing "... we're all gonna be dead in the ground" every night.
The musicians were really great and the guitar player played electric and acoustic and even a couple flamenco styled things. A guest guitarist came out for a few numbers - Larry Taylor. Sorry I didn't get all the names of the members.
Tons of cool visuals in this show. A flickering lightbulb dropped down for a song, dusty powder created a fog around Waits as he stomped, a bunch of glitter rained down and later in the show he donned a mirrored hat reflected light like a like a disco ball. Waits was very animated through the whole show with his occasional odd and funny stories.
Tom played a little bit of guitar, some piano and pump organ but mostly stood in the center of his stage and lead the whole thing like a ringleader conductor. A drunk guy sitting behind me, and kept kicking the back of my seat said at one point "What the hell is that?" with regard to the pump organ, along with a bunch of other comments. One of his comments I totally agree with: "Man, Tom Waits is brilliant!"