Tom Waits – At The Cirkus (Crystal Cat CC512-13)


Tom Waits “At The Cirkus” Crystal Cat (CC512-13)

Cirkus, Stockholm, Sweden, July 14, 1999


Set List:

Disc 1

01 Lucky Day Overture/Step Right Up

02 Black Rider

03 Jockey full of Bourbon

04 Jesus Gonna Be Here

05 Get Behind the Mule

06 Walk Away

07 Chocolate Jesus

08 Hold On

09 Eyeball Kid

10 What’s He Building?

11 A Little Rain

12 Invitation to the Blues

13 Hang Your Head Down

14 Tango Til They’re Sore

15 Innocent When You Dream

16 16 Shells From A Thirty-Ought Six

Disc 2

01 Shore Leave

02 Pony

03 Fillipino Box Spring Hog

04 Come On Up To The House

05 House Where Nobody Lives

06 Singapore

07 Heart Of Saturday Night


08 Goin’ Out West – July 13, 1999 Cirkus

09 I Can’t Wait To Get Off Work – July 13, 1999 Cirkus

10 Picture In A Frame – July 13, 1999 Cirkus

11 Who Are You – July 13, 1999 Cirkus

12 Heartattack and Wine – July 13, 1999 Cirkus

13 Time – July 13, 1999 Cirkus

14 Chocolate Jesus – September 27, 1999 “Late Night with D. Letterman”


This release is excellent! Tom Waits meets Crystal Cat, nuff said.

This was Tom Waits’ first full tour since 1987. For 12 years he only played an occasional benefit show. Thankfully he returned in full force as if he never missed a beat. This tour was in support of the excellent Mule Variations album. This was the seventh show of the tour, and only the second in Europe (the first European show was the night before at the Cirkus heard in the bonus tracks) so it is still early on and everyone sounds fresh and vibrant.

The sound quality is a gorgeous 10 out of 10, the balance between instruments is perfect. Keyboards snake through all this percussion like an asp then suddenly crisp guitars rise from nowhere like a phoenix. This music at times can be like a carnival of sounds, and sometimes it is delicate and calm. Crystal Cat do an excellent job of balancing the sounds(especially the vocals), and there is a definite audience presence as well which adds a warmth and reminds us this is a concert. Anyone who collects Crystal Cats knows what I mean. There is a reason they say “collect ‘em all”. The packaging is beautiful typical Crystal Cat booklet with a nice article and great photos.

The performance is outstanding. About half of the material is from Mule Variations, and the rest is fairly career spanning with material from Rain Dogs, Swordfishtrombones, Small Change, and others. The between song stories are very amusing, some examples: Before “Get Behind the Mule” Tom says “before people wrote songs about automobiles they wrote songs about the original automobile, the mule”; before “What’s He Building?” he says “My neighbor’s name is Cunningham, I wonder if you’re a ham you weren’t very cunning”, and at one time he asks the audience “Should I play a new one or an old one?” the audience of course responds “an old one” Waits replies “You Bastards!” The whole set is full of these sorts of exchanges between Waits and the audience. Over all it is very entertaining and shows how loose of an atmosphere exists at Tom Waits’ concerts.

The highlights are too many to list, all the songs are performed with great passion. The new material from Mule Variations is outstanding. “Get Behind The Mule”, “Come on Up To The House” and the beautifully poignant “Hold On” are a few. The ever creepy “What’s He Building In There?” and the classic “Invitation To The Blues” are wonderful. The Band: Smokey Hormel – guitar; Larry Taylor – bass; Barry McGough – keyboards; and Andrew Borger – drums/percussion execute this material perfectly. Their music is the perfect compliment to Tom Waits storytelling.

The liner notes of this disc say it all: “Tom Waits – What an Entertainer!”

I consider this the best Tom Waits cd in my collection, Highly Recommended!


Longtime Music Lover/Collector/Traveller Favorite music: R&R, Jazz, Pre War Blues/Folk I believe in the power of music. It has been my friend through good times and bad.

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