Tom Waits recognizes the value of a good entrance. At both of his Denver appearances at the Paramount Theatre last October, he announced his ascent to the stage by blazing straight through the center of the crowd, howling into a handheld bullhorn as he marched down the aisle. It was the perfect scene-setter for performances that found Waits pulling off a rare feat -- that is, rising to the level of his own mythology. Each night, Waits mule-kicked and screamed through more than two hours' worth of material, pausing only to share the occasional joke or bit of crowd interaction, or to recall the time he spent wandering the streets of downtown Denver before the area had an acronym. At one point, Waits held his green sequined bowler hat up to a disco ball that hung over his head, producing little swirling shatters of light all over the audience. Had they illuminated the faces of those in attendance a bit more, they would have revealed a rapt and loving crowd.
Readers' choice: KISS