Tom Waits Performs Live As A Tribute To Hal Willner

At a tribute gathering honoring the late Hal Willner, Tom Waits delivered a rare live performance.

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 composed a heartfelt farewell to Willner, in which they referred to him as “Wise and reckless. Lamb and black sheep,” and “Lover of the afflicted and the blessed.”

Image courtesy – All about Jazz
Image courtesy – All about Jazz

 “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 took place on 6th April at Brooklyn’s St Ann’s Warehouse, and a lot of celebrities were present.

According to Brooklyn Vegan, Waits performed a rare live performance, which included a cover of “Shenandoah” from Willner’s album “Son Of Rogue’s Gallery: Pirate Ballads, Sea Songs & Chanteys.”

Image courtesy - Tumblr
Image courtesy – Tumblr

He ended the show with a cover of Frank Sinatra’s “I’ll Be Seeing You,” which was also the name of the tribute night.

Bono and the Edge, Elvis Costello, Michael Stipe, Rufus and Martha Wainwright, Cat Power, Beth Orton, Suzanne Vega, Steve Buscemi, John C. Reilly, and others made appearances at the event.

Nick Cave and Laurie Anderson were supposed to perform, however they were reportedly unable to do so due to COVID-related issues. The house band included Marc Ribot, Jim White, Kenny Wollesen, Mark Bingham, Roy Nathanson and others.

Image courtesy - KQED
Image courtesy – KQED

Tom Morello performed Tom Waits’ 1999 song ‘Come On Up To The House’ last month, in other Tom Waits news.

For the next installment of the Spotify Singles series, the Rage Against The Machine guitarist recorded a cover of the song, which can be found on Waits’ 13th studio album, ‘Mule Variations.’

Bill Murray covered Waits earlier this year, putting his own spin on the 1976 hit ‘The Piano Has Been Drinking.’

— Aditi Manjunath