The last time Tom Waits went on a tour that didn’t involve the acronym “PEHDTSCKJMBA” (which stood for each of the tour’s stops, i.e. Phoenix, El Paso, Houston, Dallas, etc., obviously) was back in 2006, when he hit the road behind his wonderful Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers & Bastards compilation. And before that, 2004. Waits rarely travels anymore, possibly because it’d be impossible for him to fit his garage full of rusty instruments into the tour bus, but more likely because he doesn’t need to. He spent nearly all of the 1970s and much of the 1980s traveling from Cleveland to Akron, and no one, be they in their 20s or 60s, should ever have to do that more than once.
So it was a treat when Waits joined a bunch of other near-senior citizens, the Rolling Stones, on-stage during their stop in Oakland last night. They performed a growling rendition of “Little Red Rooster,” one that Howlin’ Wolf would have loved, assuming he could have heard it over the sound of his laughter at Mick’s struts.