I knew it had been a long-ass time since we were last graced with a Tom Waits show in these parts, but I had no idea just how long it had been. According to his singularly obsessive fansite, it will have been a full 27 years and one month since we last heard the extreme bluesman and song poet. A full Houston tour history follows, after the jump…
Waits made his Houston debut in October of 1975 at Jones Hall, where he opened for Bonnie Raitt. (Tix were $5.50 and $6.50 and available at Warehouse Records.) Six months to the day later, he opened for Janis Ian at the same venue. Six months after that, he headlined two nights at the Texas Opry House, a lower Richmond Avenue that is now the Richmond Annex of the Menil. A little over a year later, he headlined one night at the same venue. In December of 1978, Leon Redbone opened for Waits at UH’s Cullen Auditorium. And on May 12 and 13 of 1982, Waits performed intimate “evening with” shows at Rockefeller’s, and we haven’t heard from him since.
Waits’s last Texas performance came at Austin’s Paramount Theater during SXSW 1999. Music biz insiders wangled many of the tickets, too many for one overly-ardent fan who heckled him as a sell-out, and an even gloomier note would toll the next night, when Waits’s friend and occasional promoter Don Hyde was fuckstomped by La Zona Rosa bouncers in a stupid melee following an Alejandro Escovedo concert.
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Waits vowed then never to play Texas – his father’s native state – again. He kept his word for nine long years, but then again, why should a whole state have to pay for the actions of a few Austin lunkheads? Waits’s idea seems to be sensible – play Dallas and Houston and even El Paso and just leave Austin and its deranged fans and ‘roid raging bouncers off the itinerary. At any rate, Waits plays Jones Hall, a few blocks away from that crooked old “Fannin Street”, on June 22. Tickets are significantly more than five or six bucks, and are not available at Warehouse Records.
In the unlikely event you haven’t already seen the press conference wherein Waits explains his eccentric tour routing, it’s here:
– John Nova Lomax