I volunteered to sub the Brick workout at the Niagara Falls YMCA this evening so I figured I’d come a bit early and throw around the heavy iron seeing as how I missed it this past Monday and this Friday is also a no-go in lieu of “Date Night” at The Sanctuary. Yeah, so weights it is with the ‘Big Time‘ album by Tom Waits.
‘Big Time‘ is an 18-track live album running nearly 68 minutes, its material drawn mostly from Tom Waits’ trio of (then) recent studio albums, ‘Swordfishtrombones‘, ‘Rain Dogs‘, and ‘Franks Wild Years‘ (one track, ‘Falling Down’, is a previously unissued studio recording). These performances were culled from two shows (San Francisco’s Warfield Theatre, and Los Angeles’ Wiltern Theatre) on his 1987 tour, largely regarded by many as “his best tour ever.”
The performance of ‘Strange Weather‘ marks Waits’ first recording of a song he and his wife, Kathleen Brennan, wrote for Marianne Faithfull) It’s challenging music, made somewhat more accessible in a live context. Waits’ performances tended to be somewhat over the top on the studio versions of these songs, but before a live audience his theatrics seem more appropriate, and he even includes a mini-set of piano ballads. Still, it takes him until the seventh tune, ‘Way Down in the Hole‘, to seemingly bring the audience to life, and he rarely speaks, in marked contrast to the earlier live-in-the-studio album ‘Nighthawks at the Diner‘ (which, for the record, is amazing). Personally, I love Waits’ comedic banter between songs so I kind of missed that here, but it was still a fantastic listen as opposed to the other grunting, groaning and snorting going on around from the other gym goes.
Seriously, if Grimsby YMCA is the most ordinary gym then the Niagara Falls YMCA has to be not only the noisiest but the ugliest gym on the planet with everyone apparently trying to outdo one another with barnyard animal noises and body odor. I was actually thankful, not just for these tunes but for the workout to actually be done so I could retire into the spin studio to teach the class.
The dripping sweat and rank stench of half a dozen hard at work triathletes was infinitely better than what the half dozen or so mugs out on the gym floor were peddling. It was damn near blinding and rank enough to gag a maggot.