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MaryJanes2ndLastDance

Why Swingin'?

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I realize this is a pretty speculative topic but that hasn't stopped me before! 

Swigin' was brought out a couple times during the tour, out of all the songs that haven't been played why that one? I don't think it was performed at any residency back in 2013 nor since the Echo Tour. That's about an eighteen year gap since it was played but why play it?

My guess is the creation of the song was a good memory for Tom, per the Zollo book it emerged from a chaotic jam. It doesn't seem as directly connected to the painful memories of that time period. Well, I guess I answered my own question but do any of you have an opinion on why they pulled this song back into a few brief performances.

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Great song from a great album.  I reallly think the band liked the "Echo" record. I know I've heard Benmont say as much.  "Swingin'" is a fun song to play.  I love the harp, the riffs that Mike plays, and of course Tom's vocal.  I did see them play 'Swingin' at Red Rocks one of the nights, and it was a very pleasant surprise. 

Playing something from "Echo" makes sense - after all it was a 40th anniversary tour meant to be celebrating the entire catalog.  I would have been happy with anything from "Echo", but "Swingin' really made me smile.

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18 hours ago, TomFest said:

"Swingin'" is a fun song to play.  I love the harp, the riffs that Mike plays, and of course Tom's vocal.  I did see them play 'Swingin' at Red Rocks one of the nights, and it was a very pleasant surprise.

 Glad you got to see it. I wonder if Tom had it in his back pocket for a while and the rain made him pull it out. Actually, wait..he pulled it out at the Jazz Fest first. I think the Red Rocks version has an appealing rawness to it.

 If they ever do release the last night on Cd I hope they include a bonus disc with Red Rocks Swingin' and those other deep cuts they played during their final run.

cheers

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Yeah, I like TomFest reasoning. This being the 40th anniv. and all, they might have thought it a good idea to bring out something from all albums over the course of the tour, so probably they had rehearsed at least one or two songs even from what they saw as their "lesser" albums.* And seeing how the band themselves generally liked Echo, (while Tom may have had mixed feelings about some of it, or that era) Swingin certainly feels like one of the obvious picks- the great compromise, as it were - to represent the album, in terms of being fun and rocking. And let's not forget it was at least a minor hit. Perhaps a bit more of celebration type song than say Room at The Top?

 

------

* It was often mentioned before tours, how they were rehearsing 50, 60, 80 songs, having fun, digging deep. This no matter how many songs they actually ended up playing once on the road.

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6 hours ago, Shelter said:

Swingin certainly feels like one of the obvious picks- the great compromise, as it were

 I have this pointless theory that if Tom knew they were playing for an audience that absolutely didn't care what they played, they could play only what they wanted to and the crowd would be happy, the show would consist of a lot of Mojo tunes, maybe some Hypnotic Eye, maybe a few things from Echo and lots of rockabilly and blues covers. Out of their extensive catalog he chose Swingin' which fits in the more latter day mode of songwriting, midtempo, a bit of a groove, a bluesy feel, instead of anything from earlier. I think the defiant lyrics appeal as well. "...went down...swing-in!".

 I guess my point is it was probably doubtful they were ever going to pull out anything really deep on this tour aside from Rockin' Around and that got chosen probably because it was the first track on the first record.

As for Swingin; maybe Dana Petty liked it or one of the other band members requested it.

 

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It's an interesting song and nice live performance.  Not a favorite song of mine, but it had a different and appealing overall sound, with a kind of cinematic background quality, or an end-of-the-movie song.  

What I've never understood is what the lyrics are about, and then there's the official video which is even more bizarre, and quite disconnected from the lyrics.  In the lyrics, a woman is in trouble, short of money, hitchhiking, crossing a state line and feeling free.  Yet she goes down swingin', like she's not free (caught by the police?) and possibly dies.  The references to famous "swingin" people are all jazz "swing" performers, until he gets to the end with Sonny Liston, a famous boxer who's "swingin" was of his hands, as if she went down swinging her fists to get free, but failed.  

And then in the video, a young woman with an injured wrist enters a diner and has flashbacks to apparently a recent marriage, then murder of her husband that she couldn't save.  TP is in the diner and sees angels or ghosts above her, and she starts to see them too, including one that looks like her.  Then she remembers her car rolling over, she apparently lives but injures her wrist.  What in the world is all that about?  Not that the band had anything to do with the concept, but the director must have thought it somehow fit the song.  At least he managed to get TP, Steve, Howie, Mike, and Benmont into the video.       

Anyone have an explanation of the song lyrics and/or the official video?

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45 minutes ago, TheSameOldDrew said:

Anyone have an explanation of the song lyrics and/or the official video?

I never knew there was a video. I'd be curious too what people make of Swingin lyrics. I recall from somewhere that Tom improved the song and lyrics and they may have just gone with that take, if so, these lyrics perhaps more than any others are wide open to meaning. I think you did a pretty good job with:

46 minutes ago, TheSameOldDrew said:

Yet she goes down swingin', like she's not free (caught by the police?) and possibly dies.  The references to famous "swingin" people are all jazz "swing" performers, until he gets to the end with Sonny Liston, a famous boxer who's "swingin" was of his hands, as if she went down swinging her fists to get free, but failed. 

  Pretty good observation and one I've not seen before.

I don't have much to say about the lyrics but musically, for me the song is a breath of fresh air on their last tour, particularly this version where the band seemed much looser (perhaps higher) when they played it due to the rain delay.

This style, kinda bluesy but not quite, a heavy groove seems where the band was most at home as they went on. It's not a deep cut I'd want to hear from the band but I appreciate it in this context and overall; what is that, an 18 year gap between performances? It almost looks like Ron is trying to follow along, for all we know he'd not played this before unless this show comes after Jazzfest in which case, it could be his second time at it. 

All-in-all it sounds really good and a bit looser than the performances from the Echo tour and that extra dimension makes it extra appealing for me. 

But as to the song's meaning, I think it fits in with some of what Echo's about which is defiance, like in Free Girl Now, Won't Last Long etc.

cheers

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2 hours ago, MaryJanes2ndLastDance said:

But as to the song's meaning, I think it fits in with some of what Echo's about which is defiance, like in Free Girl Now, Won't Last Long etc.

Yes that makes sense.  Tom often had a theme of defiance in his songs, which is something I always enjoyed.   

Ron's bass sounds pretty good to me, to the extent that I can hear it anyway.  Good point that this song was new to him in 2017.

Tom is walking pretty gingerly in the live video, more like an 88 year old than a 66 year old.  Of course now we know why.  It's too bad he didn't go straight to the hospital after the tour, if not during.         

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On 4/28/2020 at 1:06 AM, TheSameOldDrew said:

And then in the video, a young woman with an injured wrist enters a diner and has flashbacks to apparently a recent marriage, then murder of her husband that she couldn't save.  TP is in the diner and sees angels or ghosts above her, and she starts to see them too, including one that looks like her.  Then she remembers her car rolling over, she apparently lives but injures her wrist.  What in the world is all that about? 

also the cat who drinks saucer of milk. 

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Luke Wilson, definitely!!!  He's very good in the series Roadies. 

...on the other hand, I personally love those translucent angels / ghosts / disembodied spirits in the diner.  Reminds me of the benevolent feel of Wings of Desire directed by Wim Wenders released in 1987.

 (If you watch it on my recommendation, I do need to say time moves very slowly while watching this film.  Allegedly it's 2 hours 8 mins (according to IMDB) but I'd swear it seems like at least 8 hours 2 mins).

Spoiler

...sometimes it seems surely Luke could reach his feet down onto ledge / balcony below him & not fall away from her desperate outstretched arms.  Perspective & camera angles?

 

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6 hours ago, Big Blue Sky said:

Luke Wilson, definitely!!!  He's very good in the series Roadies. 

...on the other hand, I personally love those translucent angels / ghosts / disembodied spirits in the diner.  Reminds me of the benevolent feel of Wings of Desire directed by Wim Wenders released in 1987.

 (If you watch it on my recommendation, I do need to say time moves very slowly while watching this film.  Allegedly it's 2 hours 8 mins (according to IMDB) but I'd swear it seems like at least 8 hours 2 mins).

  Hide contents

...sometimes it seems surely Luke could reach his feet down onto ledge / balcony below him & not fall away from her desperate outstretched arms.  Perspective & camera angles?

 

It is like most TPATH videos, overly dramatized but nonetheless, a fun video. Even if the song is drab and the colors in the video are that peak late 90s monochrome. It's now over 20 years and Echo as I've said before is an underrated album by the band and in the eyes of the public but it's well remembered in the fandom. Yes the band as a whole may have been in a bad, miserable place but the effort is noted and leaves a lot of bright spots like "Swingin'". It probably holds some of the bands best playing as a band moments since Long After Dark and wouldn't be replicated until Hypnotic Eye. Ben and Mike are in top form and they get to expand on that Rick Rubin sound that's been going on since 92.

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The video doesn't make much sense, or seem to relate to the song, but I like that it manages to get Tom, Steve, Mike, Howie, and Benmont into the scene as incidental players (customers).  One thing that has long bothered me in the video - the man dangling from the window ledge looks like he could have put his legs on or inside the railing of the room he's next to.    He literally has to lift and bend back his feet and shins to keep from brushing against the railing. In reality he would have brushed against the railing, and having noticed it, presumably would have tried to stand on or inside it, making his rescue much more likely.  Not that this was meant to be realistic, but it adds another strange element to an already strange video.    

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