Listen to a rare live recording of Tom Waits covering The Doors
One evening in 1988, as Los Angeles celebrated New Year’s Eve, Tom Waits took to the stage at the Wiltern Theatre and delivered a monster live performance.
Having released Franks Wild Years—his ninth studio album—just 12 months prior to the festive performance in California, Waits included numerous cuts from the record such as ‘Temptation’ and ‘Hang on St. Christopher’ in what was a wide-ranging setlist with no fewer than 31 songs played in total.
Understandably, the crowd were in great voice as the countdown to the New Years was very much on. With anticipation building inside the venue, Waits strolled on to the stage in his typically nonchalant manner and rolled into a surprise opener; a particularly heavy and robust cover of The Doors’ 1967 track ‘Take It as It Comes’.
The song, written about accepting what life gives you at your own pace, fits Waits’ mentality down to a tee. Not one to regularly put a spin on the work of other artists, Waits once famously said: “I didn’t really want to be part of a clique or a niche,” when asked about his approach. “But I also was looking for my own voice, as a writer, y’know? And a world I could call my own.”
Waits once added, somewhat humbly: “I always had a great appreciation for jazz, but I’m a very pedestrian musician. I get by. I like to think that my main instrument is vocabulary.”
Well, on one night in LA, he did more than just get by. He delivered a furious, unrelenting and brilliant reimagination of a hit by The Doors.