Saturday, August 23, 2014

A Tori Amos concert is kind of a religious experience

If you know much about Tori Amos, you'll know that her fan base is largely a devoted, lovely bunch of people. They come from all walks of life, from the fellow in the front row in his short sequined evening gown, heels, blond bob, and five o'clock shadow, to the heavily tattooed 30-something-year-old woman, to the enthusiastic mom and her fading-fast-elementary-school-aged son, to the dad and his family, to my forty-something writer-mom-self. At the concert, we are all the same, moved by the music, lyrics, artistry, and passion of a woman who is one of the most talented and prolific in the music business. It's so amazing to be a part of this open group, where people spent nearly two hours not worrying about how they look or seem, just feeling and thinking almost as one. The dad nearby me tapped along to every song, sharing the names of each one with his pre-teen daughter, and singing along to most of them. The bobbed dude in the front row danced and wiggled with such enthusiasm that I could feel it up in row 16. And I loved every minute of it. Who cares who you are, what you do, what you wear, what you look like? We're all Tori Amos fans!

In Tampa on August 22 (her birthday!), Tori delivered yet another moving, energetic, fun concert. Although she had no other musicians with her, she filled the room with music, using her piano, keyboard, organ, and a few well-placed backing tracks throughout the show. She talked, giggled, and made us laugh with her chatter. She made some of us scream and cry with her music. And in the Lizard Lounge section of the night, which she usually devotes to covers requested by fans, she played two of her own choices in honor of her birthday. Both, she said, were by people who were "good eggs" in the music industry. "There aren't many of those," she added. Each song was titled "Thank You."

The first was a Led Zeppelin cover that Tori had done earlier in her career as a B-side to a single (remember B-sides?). It is one of my favorites of all the covers that Tori has ever done, and I just so happened to record it on my phone. Forgive me for my poor quality video. I was just a little bit excited.

After that, she played Alanis Morissette's Thank U, which is one of my favorite Alanis songs. Before she got started, Tori said she had never played this song before. I was so excited when I realized what it was, I smacked my concert-going-partner, my sister-in-law, Stacy. She survived and was a good sport about it. The video fairly shaky, as I regarded the experience more important than the recording. Since you weren't there, you may not agree. Too bad for you. :)

Before the show began, the opening act invited us all to be a part of Tori's birthday celebration, letting us know that we should sing "Happy Birthday" when people brought the cake onstage at the start of the encore much later in the show. Well, we kept our secret, as did the entire crew, because Tori seemed very surprised by the falling balloons, streamers, and party hats in the first few rows. It was totally fun!

Complete dork that I am, I brought Tori a small birthday present (a card and some chocolate). My plan was to give it to her daughter who was working the merchandise stand. Unfortunately, Tash was not there (probably preparing for the birthday celebration) so I found a really sweet security guard and asked him super nicely how he thought I could get it to her. He offered to take it backstage when his shift was over (which was in a couple of minutes). I suppose there's a chance that he ate the chocolate himself, but he was pretty nice so I guess I can live with that possibility.

Since Tori has written and recorded, I don't know, hundreds of songs, you don't always get to hear exactly what you want at a show. Not every song was my favorite, but I heard enough great stuff to be moved and excited and reminded as to why I love this amazing artist. I also noted that, even though she's been singing regularly her whole life, her voice sounds fantastic. She was on pitch and beautiful all the time. A lot of "singers" could take some lessons from Tori!

The set list and photos from the birthday celebration are on Tori's instagram if you want to check it out. Her twitter includes more photos, including one of the crowd in which you can see the diversity and amazingness I mentioned.

What a great night!


No comments:

Post a Comment