A wishes-to-remain-anonymous Friend of Unfair Park who knows of my profound fondness for early Tom Waits sends warm wishes to one and all and this astounding holiday offering: Waits at Texas Hall on the University of Texas at Arlington campus on October 25, 1975. Which is why a bulk of the set list consists of the just-released Nighthawks at the Diner, itself a live-show recording of new material wherein the rambling, stand-up intros were occasionally more memorable than the songs. "Under the circumcision it's a real prophylactic experience to be here," says Waits by way of foreplay. "I'd kinda like to do you an improvisational invention in the bowels of the metropolitan region." And off he goes.
I'd forgotten I'd come across this years ago on Captain's Dead, and it's as pristinely preserved a keepsake as one could hope for, far better than the cavernous-sounding glitter-n-doom at the Palladium memento I once abandoned somewhere in the comments. And though it predates the classics to come during the '78-'85 do-no-wrong days, this still has "Ol' 55" and the double shot of "The Ghosts of Saturday Night" and "(Looking for) The Heart of Saturday Night." Essential? Close enough.