|Tom Waits, Nighthawks At the Diner
Preconceptions: Nighthawks has always been second in my Waits’ 70s era Bourbon Bukowski Troubador playlist. I have seen him live since last listening to it, so I was curious how the classic live album would compare to my memories of his 1999 show in that cavernous firetrap in Boston.
After Listening: The weird flavor of his stage patter is the same as I remember, but the musical performance is less satisfying than I expected. I love the songs but there is too much talking.
Favorites: Better Off Without a Wife, because who isn’t really?
Overall: I prefer the Arista Record studio albums to this live one. Maybe it’s because of the 1970s audience. I can just picture their smug, delusional hip, wide-labeled smirks. You can almost hear the coke and herpes. Also, I like the Island Records weird percussion years better.
Extra Credit: Check out Waits’ Rain Dogs from 1985, particularly Gun Street Girl & Hang Down Your Head.