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Published on Aug 6, 2008
On a sweltering night in the heart of Paris, a sense of nervous expectation surrounds Le Grand Rex, the city's oldest cinema. Cigarette smoke swirls along the boulevard outside the theatre as hordes of Raindogs queue before entering the vaudeville world of Tom Waits.
That the venue is running well over an hour late only adds to the sense of expectation. By the time the lights dip in the art deco cinema and the dishevelled figure of Waits shuffles on to the darkened stage, the crowd are on the verge of exploding.
Suddenly a spotlight shines. It's Waits, centre stage, mounted upon a circular podium like a circus ringmaster. He is surrounded by his band and a backdrop of vintage Gramophone horns.
Waits stomps his feet on the wooden boards, sawdust billows up from the floor, and his rasping voice spits out the opening to "Lucinda" which in turn merges into the junk shop boogie of Leadbelly's "Ain't Goin' Down To The Well".