Tom Waits stopped by the Late Show last night to say goodbye to David Letterman and debut a brand new song called “Take One Last Look”. As Dave gets closer and closer to his final night on the Late Show — he signs off May 20th — the big guns start to come out. Lately, each episode is packed to the brim with huge stars paying tribute to Letterman and his late night legacy. You might have expected that sort of thing, but nobody was expecting to get a live performance of a brand new Tom Waits song.
Waits has a long history of appearing on the Late Show, so perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised to that he chose one of Dave’s final episodes to unleash a new song. He sat down for an interview with Dave, too, which is wonderfully awkward since George Clooney sits handcuffed to Letterman for the entire conversation. It’s this sort of bizarre zaniness that made Letterman so unique back in the day. The current crop of late night hosts like Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel owe Letterman more than they can ever repay.
The song itself is haunting in that typical Waits’ fashion. The lyrics are very suiting for the occasion (Letterman’s retirement) and Waits even dedicates it to Dave. Waits remains one of most distinct and powerful singer-songwriters, so any time we get something new from him it’s a real treat. Hell, it’s hard to not get a little emotional watching him preform the song, especially if you are fan of David Letterman. Waits really drives it home at the end when he repeats the line, “Take one last look at the place you are leaving, take one last look.” Beautiful stuff and a fitting tribute to one of late nights greatest hosts. We’ll miss you, Dave.
Give a listen to “Take One Last Look”