The Digital Collegian
September 16, 1996

Added March 6, 2001

 Tour Info
 Dent Forum
 Search / Map
 Entry Page

Richard Handal made me aware of a review of Tori's 1996 University Park, PA concert that appeared in the September 16, 1996 edition of The Digital Collegian at Penn State. Read the review below. The photo you see is also from this review. To see it larger, go to the Digital Collegian web site.

Amos entrances fans with emotional lyrics

Collegian Arts Writer

The Tori photo is credited to Timothy Gyves.

However hard singer/guitarist Josh Clayton Felt tried, he couldn't mask reality. Though he charmed the crowd with his simple talent, inciting cheers of "We love you, Josh!" in the boisterous crowd, it was the background that told the tale.

Behind him, green spotlights revealed ominous silhouettes of a piano and a harpsichord through an opaque screen, lying in wait of Felt's finale.

And fans of Tori Amos, delighted as they were with his stoned country boy persona, were elated when the two instruments finally took their rightful place front and center.

Amos, who performed before a packed Eisenhower Auditorium Friday night, thrilled fans with a visual and aural experience brimming with feminist and sexual energies.

From the first notes of "Beauty Queen," she writhed on her bench as if possessed by her music, exorcising musical spirits by belting them out onto her piano.

Amos played an even mix of songs from her three solo albums, Little Earthquakes, Under the Pink, and Boys for Pele, improvising with each tune. She even included one song from her nearly forgotten group project, Y Kant Tori Read?, which featured her "running around in spandex," as she put it."She really gets into it," Kathy Kirkpatrick (senior-economics) said. "She brings in her whole audience when she performs."

Having entranced audience members with the delicate "Horses," she kept them guessing with each song, performing several unlikely covers with her own twist. Versions of Don McLean's "American Pie," Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" and The Cure's "Lovesong" were all far divorced from the originals, infused with piano and a feminist bent.

With a new rendition of "Caught a Lite Sneeze" came the most affecting visuals, with crashing waves projected overhead and spotlights that spread over the audience throughout much of the performance.

Amos showed her emotional range by alternating between light theatrics including bantering with the audience and dancing, and patches of gloom, exploding with an ear-splitting wail in "Pretty Good Year" or a throaty groan in "Precious Things."

The darkest moments came with songs dealing with the psyche of oppressed women. The eerie but abstracted "Blood Roses" ("Shaved every place where you've been, boy," she sings) hints at the autobiographical rape scene described in "Me and a Gun."

"Me and a Gun," her barest moment onstage, provided the clearest insight to her feminist viewpoint. As she bared her soul under a blinding spotlight, the student organization Womyn's Concerns held a fund-raiser outside. The group raised money for a national campaign to move a women's suffrage statue to the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C., which was moved to a basement a day after it was dedicated in 1921.

"(Amos) is a feminist activist," Yvonne Rasor (senior-psychology), co-director of the fund-raiser, said. "She set up the first hotline to D.C. for women who have been raped."

Unlike many, Amos was able to turn her devastation to positive energy, which was evident throughout her performance.

"I thought it was incredible," said Janet Walker (junior-elementary education). "She's an awesome performer."

Others, however, found the translation from recording to live performance less successful.

"I was really expecting a lot more," said Shawn Baranick, a resident of State College. "She sounds so much better on tape."

Few argued Amos didn't try. After returning for two encores, she finally waved goodbye, exhausted after two hours of roller coaster highs and lows.

"She was very energetic," said Veda Dale (sophomore-education).

Go Back To Articles

Go Back To ToriNews

Go Back To Other Reviews For University Park, PA

Please give me feedback, comments, or suggestions about The Dent. Email me (Mikewhy) at