Tom Waits gives rare live performance at Hal Willner tribute event

Tom Waits performed a rare live set at a tribute event that was held to honour the late Hal Willner.

Willner, who was Saturday Night Live‘s longtime sketch music producer, died in 2020 at the age of 64. Numerous tributes were paid to the producer online following his death, including by Red Hot Chili Peppers’ bassist Flea and Cat Power.

Tom Waits and his wife Kathleen also penned a touching tribute, where they called Willner “Wise and reckless. Lamb and black sheep,” and “Lover of the afflicted and the blessed.”

“If you took a cross section of Hal’s heart… you would see the rings of a wise old tree,” the post read. “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 tribute event was held on Wednesday (April 6), taking place at Brooklyn’s St Ann’s Warehouse with a number of famous faces in attendance.

According to Brooklyn Vegan, Waits gave a rare live performance which included his rendition of ‘Shenandoah’ from the Willner-curated album ‘Son Of Rogue’s Gallery: Pirate Ballads, Sea Songs & Chanteys’.

He closed with a cover of Frank Sinatra’s ‘I’ll Be Seeing You’, which was also the name given to the tribute night.

There were other appearances during the event from the likes of Bono and the Edge, Elvis Costello, Michael Stipe, Rufus and Martha Wainwright, Cat Power, Beth Orton, Suzanne Vega, Steve Buscemi, John C. Reilly and more.

Nick Cave and Laurie Anderson were scheduled to perform but reportedly didn’t make it for COVID-related reasons.

The house band included Marc Ribot, Jim White, Kenny Wollesen, Mark Bingham, Roy Nathanson, and others.

In other Tom Waits news, Tom Morello covered Waits‘ 1999 track ‘Come On Up To The House’ last month.

The Rage Against The Machine guitarist recorded a rendition of the song – the original of which appears on Waits’ 13th studio album, ‘Mule Variations’ – for the latest instalment in the Spotify Singles series.

Earlier in the year, Bill Murray also covered Waits, putting his own spin on the 1976 track ‘The Piano Has Been Drinking’.

The post Tom Waits gives rare live performance at Hal Willner tribute event appeared first on NME.

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