But over two hours and 23 songs, the mix settled into the house, and the crowd settled into its seats. Waits teased the calm by understating everything about the show; he consciously avoided blowing minds. He played some hits, a quarter of Real Gone, some guitar, some piano, and one new gem. No theatrics, homemade instruments, or pyrotechnic obsessions. Waits just clutched the microphone with one hand while snapping the other back and forth, acting as a well-lubed bandleader for a backing outfit (including son Casey Waits and Roomful of Blues' Duke Robillard) that never seemed capable of shaking its timidity about accompanying him. Perhaps by the time they get to Akron, they'll have made the music their own as much as the fans already have.
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