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(Credit: Fresh On The Net)


Tom Waits makes rare live performance at Hal Willner tribute event


In a tribute at a dedicated Hal Willner event, Tom Waits gave a rare performance to honour the late music producer, who served as Saturday Night Live’s longtime sketch music producer.

Wilner died in 2020 at the age of 64, but the event took place after the fact, just this past Wednesday, April 6th, giving more time for the pandemic to calm down so many other guests could come and pay tribute. Flea of Red Hot Chili Peppers and Cat Power also gave performances.

Tom Waits and his wife Kathleen also wrote a touching tribute to Hal Willner, in which they said, “If you took a cross section of Hal’s heart… you would see the rings of a wise old tree. Above all, let’s remember that Hal loved music… and from all appearances it seems very much to have loved him right back big time.”

The event took place at Brooklyn’s St Ann’s Warehouse, where a number of celebrities were in attendance. During the occasion, Waits gave a rare live performance, which included his rendition of ‘Shenandoah’ from the Hal Willner-curated album Son Of Rogue’s Gallery: Pirate Ballads, Sea Songs & Chanteys.

Some other appearances from the evening include Elvis Costello, Rufus and Martha Wainwright, Cat Power, Beth Orton, Bono and the Edge, Suzanne Vega, Michael Stipe, Steve Buscemi, and John C. Reilly. Nick Cave and Laurie Anderson were also on the bill, but couldn’t make it due to Covid-19 related circumstances. 

They ended the night with a Frank Sinatra cover—the song ‘I’ll be Seeing You’, which was also the name of the event. Even though it might have taken a bit longer than expected to host the event, it seems that the wait was well worth it to honour the late music producer.