European Plugged '98 Tour
Tori performed in Liverpool, U.K. on May 20, 1998 at the Royal Court during the European leg of her Plugged '98 tour.
Richard Handal phoned me all the way from England to give me this set list!
Tear In Your Hand
From The Telegraph
July 15, 1998 - I stumbled across this review of Tori's Liverpool show that appeared in the Telegraph newspaper in the U.K. on May 22, 1998. This was posted to the Precious-things mailing list by Linette Voller.
David Cheal on Tori Amos at the Royal Court, Liverpool
In the past, Tori Amos has performed either alone or with a
guitarist lurking in the shadows. But for the opening night
of her latest European tour, she had the works: bass, drums,
guitar, as well as her own piano and electronic keyboard.
The result was a revelation.
Whereas the last time I saw this restlessly inventive and
slightly unhinged singer, songwriter and pianist from the
American South, she looked small and vulnerable and sounded
rather thin, here she seemed charged up by the presence of
her band. She hollered and swooned in that inimitable voice
and squirmed on her piano stool as though she could barely
Not only did the band give the show a richer sound - they
also provided Amos with something to play off against. In
particular, she and the drummer seem to have developed a
spooky understanding; there was a thrilling symmetry between
the contrapuntal splashes of sound that emanated from her
piano and his crackling fills.
The show opened with Black Dove, one of the best tracks from
Amos's fabulous new album, From the Choirgirl Hotel. The
band sparkled, and Amos shrieked and pummelled her piano -
it was electrifying.
And so it went on, almost without let-up, for an hour and a
half. Respite came briefly when the band strolled off and
left the singer to her own devices for a couple of songs;
otherwise it was Amos and the band, fully plugged-in and
switched-on, covering a range of moods: scary, frightened,
powerful, voraciously erotic.
Raspberry Swirl was a controlled explosion of sound,
featuring the drummer banging on an oil drum and Amos
reminding us that the piano is, in essence, a percussion
instrument; Cornflake Girl, the old favourite, raised the
roof; Northern Lad, an elliptically structured threnody from
the new album, saw her voice soaring and swooping
exquisitely; and on Spark, another new song, she and the
band faithfully reproduced the baroque complexity of the
Amos didn't say much, but her body language suggested that
she was having the time of her life. And no wonder: by
making herself the focal point of a proper band, as a live
performer she has propelled herself into another dimension.
Why hasn't she thought of it before?
In the past, Tori Amos has performed either alone or with a guitarist lurking in the shadows. But for the opening night of her latest European tour, she had the works: bass, drums, guitar, as well as her own piano and electronic keyboard. The result was a revelation.
Whereas the last time I saw this restlessly inventive and slightly unhinged singer, songwriter and pianist from the American South, she looked small and vulnerable and sounded rather thin, here she seemed charged up by the presence of her band. She hollered and swooned in that inimitable voice and squirmed on her piano stool as though she could barely contain herself.
Not only did the band give the show a richer sound - they also provided Amos with something to play off against. In particular, she and the drummer seem to have developed a spooky understanding; there was a thrilling symmetry between the contrapuntal splashes of sound that emanated from her piano and his crackling fills.
The show opened with Black Dove, one of the best tracks from Amos's fabulous new album, From the Choirgirl Hotel. The band sparkled, and Amos shrieked and pummelled her piano - it was electrifying.
And so it went on, almost without let-up, for an hour and a half. Respite came briefly when the band strolled off and left the singer to her own devices for a couple of songs; otherwise it was Amos and the band, fully plugged-in and switched-on, covering a range of moods: scary, frightened, powerful, voraciously erotic.
Raspberry Swirl was a controlled explosion of sound, featuring the drummer banging on an oil drum and Amos reminding us that the piano is, in essence, a percussion instrument; Cornflake Girl, the old favourite, raised the roof; Northern Lad, an elliptically structured threnody from the new album, saw her voice soaring and swooping exquisitely; and on Spark, another new song, she and the band faithfully reproduced the baroque complexity of the recorded version.
Amos didn't say much, but her body language suggested that she was having the time of her life. And no wonder: by making herself the focal point of a proper band, as a live performer she has propelled herself into another dimension. Why hasn't she thought of it before?
From Emma Taylor + Andy Tebbutt
June 21, 1998 - We arrived at the venue at 10:55am, and with the exception of one other guy (hi Andrew!), were the first ones there. Mark was walking around watching the crew finishing unloading for the first couple of hours (this was our first sight of Tori's husband !). By 1pm, a small group of 10 Tori fans had joined the queue, by the main door - with it being a standing gig, we staked our place early ! The stage door was only 15 metres away from the main doors, so everyone kept flitting between the two. By around 4:30pm, there was around 30 people, and because they joined the queue last, found themselves up by the stage door end of the building. Tori's tour bus pulled up at 4:55pm, and Joel got off telling people to line up between the stage door and the bus door - which was only a small area, and there were no barriers up. We ended up second row, and couldn't believe that our 2 year wait to meet Tori again was here upon us now ! She looked really happy and healthy as she stepped off the bus towards the line. She happily signed and chatted with fans although it was very squashed and disorganised (Joel's nightmare scenario, even though he seemed in a reasonable mood !). When she got to us, she still remembered us after 2 years, and said some real nice personal stuff to us both... We were in total shock that she could remember us after two long years and all the people she meets across the world ! This shows what a wonderful person she really is... but we all know that anyway!
Before she went in, we managed to give her a letter each - for the consequences of one of those letters, please see our write up of the following days Manchester show...
We very happily returned to the main doors and stood where we'd been since 11am, no one else was with us as they were still around the stage door. Time flew by, and before long the doors opened at 7:25pm. (By this time the queue was so long it was doubling around). We were first in, followed by Andrew, Peter and 5 or 6 of what were to become "the regulars" at the rest of the shows, and ran to the front centre. The whole place filled up really quickly and time flew by until 'The Devlins' appeared at 8pm. Jon Evans was sat at the back side of the stage watching the group throughout there 30 minute set. (Andy was real pleased that they were the support act for the tour as he was already a fan, but Emma soon grew to like them too - a bit !) This was now the moment we had all waited so long for... At 9:06pm, Tori came on stage and launched into "Black Dove" - we won't go through the set list as other people have already done this. But here are a few quotes:
* She spoke for the first time before 'Cornflake Girl' and said something like "It's nice to be touring the UK when it's warm..". She introduced the band starting with Steve, then Matt then Jon. She said "I love your accents, I could listen to you all day, couldn't tell a word you said, but I could listen to you all day !". "Lot's of new songs, but you should know this one..." (starts 'Cornflake Girl').
* Before 'Northern Lad', she said "it's written for a Northern Lad I know, there's a real difference between North and South in this country, different up here - better." During this song, she was constantly glaring down at the two security men stood down in the pit between the crowd and the stage, they have their backs to her watching the crowd. They are talking to each other loud enough for us to hear, and obviously Tori could hear them, she went through this song on auto-pilot because she really did hardly take her eyes off them. You can really tell she's annoyed at them. As soon as the song ends and the lights dim, she immediately got up and marched over to them, bends down and taps them on the shoulder, and severely talks to them (obviously expressing her disgust), then she went and sat down again, carrying on with the show. Well done to Tori here - these guys were well out of order and very annoying...
* Before 'Icicle' she said "I could do with oxygen", and someone shouted "You're breathless...", so Tori said "let me tell you, this is the only time I'm breathless honey !".
* As they started playing 'Spark', she missed her cue and said "sorry, I fucked up, you guys carry on and I'll pick it up !"
To be honest, we (and the regulars) all agreed that this show sounded rather flat - she was really drowned out by the band, her vocals weren't clear, and it didn't sound set up right. Everyone we knew also hated the new 'Horses', but before you all think we are being unfair and ungrateful, we'll add that the other gigs were spot on, brilliant, the sound was perfect and we even ended up loving 'Horses' by the end of the UK tour! Everyone seems to agree that this Liverpool show was their least favourite, a one-off dud, but it was still a good show - just not a great show. And of course, Tori was outstanding as ever !
She went off stage at 10:40pm after two encores with the sounds of The Beatles (Emma's second favourite music after Tori !) 'Norwegian Wood', echoing through the sound system as the venue emptied. Unfortunately, we had to get the last train home at 11:25pm, but our friend Andrew later told us that she left at 11:30pm, and the quick meet and greet was as disorganised and hectic as the afternoon's one. Maybe Joel had the idea of getting barriers up from now on after todays chaos ...!
Sorry if we've gone on far too much here, but we just had to share our memories. Tori's back on tour in the UK - yeah !
From The Daily Post Newspaper
June 3, 1998 - A review of Tori's Liverpool concert appeared in the May 21, 1998 edition of The Daily Post newspaper in Liverpool. The review is Tony Kenwright. You can read this review below or online at Liverpool.com. The web site edition includes a nice photo of Tori on stage.
FIRST NIGHT: Tori Amos at the Royal Court, Liverpool, for the first performance of her European tour
by Tony Kenwright
GIVEN an adequate amount of talent it's easy to pander to mass-market taste. Call it the Celine Dion factor. On the other side, however, there are artists driven, not by the audience but by their own creativity. Artists like Tori Amos.
There are many for whom a single Tori gig will never be enough. Holidays will be taken as they follow her around the country. She inspires that sort of devotion but happily is never suffocated by it.
There's no denying the challenge of presenting not only material from an album so new that many of the audience are not yet familiar with it, but also radical reworkings of old songs.
It's a challenge Tori rises to and, although she has always been a superb solo performer, she seems happy to be surrounded by a band and pleased to flesh out the songs.
For this, the first date of her European tour at the Royal Court she is dressed-down in a black tee-shirt and jeans and her hair a more sensible red than the flaming orange of the past.
She sits straddled between her piano and keyboard, swivelling between the two and sometimes using both at the same time.
Despite the presence of two guitarists it's the interplay between piano and drums that most defines the new sound. Even songs from the first album, Little Earthquakes, take on a new dynamism amidst the thundering rhythms.
FOR a first gig there's much to admire, although there are some problems with the pacing of the show. For a long time everything seems perfect. The music is controlled and well-rehearsed even if things sometimes seem a tad too meticulous, as though everyone has learned their parts and there's no room for improvisation or real interplay.
There is a time, however, perhaps an hour into the 90-minute set when it seems that things need more light and shade.
The new numbers are superb but even on the album the dance rhythms are interspersed with slower, more lyrical numbers. It was a real surprise that despite many requests she didn't perform Jackie's Strength, which may just be the best song she's ever written.
Having been present at Tori's first-ever gig in Liverpool at the Bluecoat Chambers, it's hard not to marvel at the transformation. The American bar-room balladeer has turned rock-n-roll radical but in doing so it seems that just a little of her superb personality gets lost.
Yes, it was a good show but further down the line she will surely be playing some great ones. Good news for those travelling fans.
Let's just hope that next time she finishes her tour in Liverpool instead of starting here.
From Girl With Glasses (posted to rec.music.tori-amos newsgroup)
May 25, 1998 - G'day everyone,
Just thought I'd post a little review from the concert at Liverpool yesterday.
My girlfriend (Christina to those in the know) and I arrived at the Royal Court Theatre at about 3:00, where there were already fans waiting, hoping desperately to catch a glimpse of their beloved Tori. There was a typical mix of fans: spaced-out red-haired hippy types; highly pierced and intense 20 year olds, and the obliga-tori set of strange overweight middle aged men with thick specs who you didn't want to make eye contact with, just in case.
After waiting around for about an hour with still no sign of Tori, I had the bright idea of asking the security guy if Tori was in the building, or if she hadn't arrived yet. Apparently she was to arrive at 4:30. Four thirty ticked past, though, with still no sign of Tori: it appeared from the frantic phone calls between the security people that the tour bus had got lost on its way into Liverpool, and couldn't find the venue. Eventually, half an hour later, cones were put up to block off the slip road to the theatre, and the bus arrived. John Wotherspoon, Caton and Tori's drummer appeared first, and, preceded by people carrying bags, along came Tori. AARRGGHH!! This was my first time of seeing Tori in the flesh at such close range (unless you count 4 years ago at Ipswich when she drove past in a car), and I was suitably impressed. The assorted nerds, geeks, hippies and others all immediately crowded around Tori, and as the fat bloke in front of me demonstrated, time spent talking to Tori seemed directly proportional to paunch size. Never mind, I did draw on his shirt by accident while we were waiting... ;)
As Tori worked her way down the line of fans, signing and posing for photos, I was shocked and dismayed to see that she seemed to know several of the aforementioned middle aged men! As Tori started to sign a whole stack of photos proferred by one of them, I came to the realisation that it was probably safer for her do that than to try to resist their urgent pleas for photos and signatures: I heard her say to one of them, "So, how's life now you've left the asylum?". ;)
Unfortunately, by the time Tori met me, her security guards were hurrying her along to the extent that I only got to exchange a few words (Me: "Nice nailvarnish!" Tori [laughing]: "Thanks!") and thrust my Spark single at her for signing. Nonetheless, I felt suitably thrilled by my Tori experience, and Christina (who had also had a Tori experience, but she'd said more to her than I had) and I spent the next half hour reliving those precious moments over and over again.
The concert itself:
Well, to save everyone the boredom of yet more of my prose, this was the setlist:
Black Dove (January)
In general, the whole Tori-and-band thing worked very well; certainly the drummer, Matt Chamberlain, and bassist, Jo(h?)n Evans, were a great enhancement to Tori's usual sound and on the new tracks, as well as some of the older material, like Precious Things and Tear In Your Hand, they added a new dimension to usual live versions of the songs. In particular, iieee and Cruel were superb, especially the latter, where Tori was spotlit 'selfishly' at the piano, and at various points during the song mimed having her hands tied behind her back, and seemed to be trying to shag the piano. Leather was magical, with the crowd singing along with Tori, and during Icicle, she paused before the lines "And as my hand..." to say: "I know you know this bit!". Her version of Horses which ended the show was radically revamped and virtually unrecogniseable. My only complaint is that Caton irritated me a little sometimes, partly through the fact he was constantly going over to talk to the sound people about something, and I also wished that he would just play rhythm guitar, instead of the kind of irritating ringy chords which he used to bad effect in "Little Amsterdam" et al. on the previous tour. Other than that, his Elvis-style dancing was rather amusing, and his guitar playing in Precious Things was just rockin'.
All in all, it was a totally excellent night, and I can't wait to see her at the Albert Hall!
From The Times (U.K.)
May 25, 1998 - The following review is by NIGEL WILLIAMSON and appeared in The UK Times on May 22, 1998. I would like to thank Toriphile Mike Snowden for alerting me to it.
Cornflake girl to rock babe
THE appeal of Tori Amos was for so long based upon the vulnerability of a young woman alone with her piano that it comes as something of a shock to find her rocking out with a full band.
At the Royal Court, the first night of her new British tour saw Amos both plugged in and at full volume. It is a shift in musical direction already signalled by her new album From the Choirgirl Hotel, perhaps her most mature collection of songs to date. Her grand piano still took centre stage, but Amos clearly derived a confidence and strength from the company of Matt Chamberlain on drums and Steve Caton on guitar, both of whom played on the new album, and Jon Evans on bass.
The opening Black Dove (January) set the tone, Amos's voice soaring above dense layers of sound before dive-bombing earthwards again in a rich deep rasp. Half the material came from the new album, heavily influenced by her recent miscarriage. Despite the sombre circumstances which inspired many of the songs, this show was a life-affirming event which celebrated both her earthy and more spiritual sides.
Legs astride the piano stool with her head thrown back and the light making a halo of her fiery red hair, Amos was a dramatically striking figure playing the rock babe to the hilt. The band generated a dynamic which allowed her to feed off Chamberlain's drums and which imbued her piano playing with a strong rhythmic quality. She slowed things down briefly on Cornflake, a rare dip into her back catalogue, before unleashing the percussive storm of Northern Lad and the drama of Raspberry Swirl, perhaps the best song on the new album.
Yet nothing in the show was better received than two further forays into her past, China and Icicle, played solo at the piano with an extraordinary intensity. If the band setting had emphasised the power of her voice it had also at times made it difficult to hear the words and the clarity of the solo spot was welcome.
With the band back in tow Amos built the show to a cathartic finale with two more new songs, Spark and Cruel before an explosive rendition of Waitress. Amos may have lost something in abandoning her girl alone at the piano routine but playing with a band has at the same time added structure and depth, emphasising not only her strong voice but also the complexity of her piano playing.
This was a grown-up Tori Amos with not a trace of the famous kookiness, a mature rock performer at the height of her powers.
From Peter Bevan
May 22, 1998 - Me and Two Friends were there too, none of us have been into Tori for all that long but she was beyond amazing, attractive, funny and supremly talented. I could help getting the impression that she does'nt so much play the piano as make love to it, and I could help wishing I was her piano ;-)
May 22, 1998 - Just read your article on the Liverpool gig on your site. I agree - amazing experience. Have been 'into' her for about five years but this was the first time I'd actually got to see her. Blown away - emotional - brilliant. Liked it so much I read your tour list and I'm off to Wolverhampton on Monday (25th) for a repeat experience! (Go-ed Girl!)
From Mike Gray
May 21, 1998 - A fuller account will follow (when I recover, 'K?) - but it was a very good opening night - some problems with Caton's levels, I believe, but other than that, things went pretty smoothly.
Good news - the Devlin's aren't bad! They're the best kind of support act - inoffensive, play a short, rock set, and then leave. Can't ask for anything more! :)
Tori was brilliant as ever, and the set list was pretty familar, with the inclusion on Raspberry Swirl (INCREDIBLE live - like nothing I've ever heard before) being the only real new song. No "Crucify" yet, which is a surprise.
Couple of comments Tori made from the stage..
"I love you guys - the way you talk - I don't understand a word of it, but you could talk to me all day!"
We had a couple of stupid hecklers, but she dealt with those in her usual fashion - very funny.
Grey T-shirt - small Plugged picture on the back, strange, segmented picture on the front.
Black T-shirt - Cover of the UK Promo on the front (with the piano wire), and then the dates on the back.
Raspberry Swirl necklace - as ever.
Poster - cool, tigerskin thing
NO tour programmes as yet, they haven't been printed.
Caton said before the gig that Tori's started throwing in a few curved balls now, and things seem to be going pretty well. They performed a few bars of "Do It Again" in soundcheck, although this didn't materialise during the actual set.
From David Gough
May 21, 1998 - "she was a january girl" sitting perched , mounted on her stool like a familiar lover, sweeping her hands majestically across her piano beast ,stopping only occasionally, and waving into the crowd, beaming. I'm five rows from the stage, and gasping for breath, locked between a circle of beautifull smelling girls but I don't care, I've only eyes for one tonight. shes pivoting around to set the synth refrain of iieee, mantric and haunting, the pale lights catching her ethereal beauty, wisps of flame red hair forming a curtain around her eyes.
In denim patch jeans, black t-shirt and silver open-toed heels, she throws her head around, eyes tightly closed, as if in the throes of a powerfull orgasm and the vibe that taints the air is electrifying. But its too late because the first bars of These precious things has begun,and the audience knows its still on the carousel, lurching forward in ecstatic anticipation, Tori catching them on, a flourish here, a refrain there pulling a face to the words "ugly girl", another line which she shreiks with telling vitriol, "I want to smash the faces, of those beautiful boys, those christian boys," then repeating the lines again, spitting them out twice more before pausing to run claw like hands up splayed thighs , running fingers along her crotch as the lines "so you can make me come does'nt make you jeeeeesus" cutting the air with venom. But its all for fun, as Tori remembers where she is, laughing afeter a line split with resonance, toying with her band like a dueling piano meister. The shades and hues of light change and we feel spent, but shes not finished with us as Liquid diamonds are carried on rays of trip-hop melody and the glints of a swirling mirror ball.
The lights change again and the music halts, Its Tori the lounge singer again. Shes been having us on -"How are you lot?"
A few audible shouts and Waheys.
"Hmmm" she supposes with the tilting flat of her hand. She tells us how much she loves us and our accents. We beleive her. "Can't understand a word you say, but I could listen to you all day anyway." A barrage of whoops and whistles follow. She introduces her band affectionately as her brothers, then thanks us for being patient for playing a "lot of new stuff" but guesses we might know this one. And by the third bar most of us have guessed that she is still our Cornflake girl,how could we have ever doubted, that kookyness, tori urging us on with a series of grins and tilts of the tousled redhead. Its the time of our life, "You bet your life it is."
She introduces the next one for a Northern lad, "they talk a bit different to the guys down south." Someone screams "You go girl" but Toris already into it, the lament already on her lips, and she sways without looking once from between closed eyes. Were still on the that level, when the ground shifts, and a clubbed up raspberry swirl, intones on an anthemic beat, "Hey Senorita." her voice rising up to the heavens on a lush wave of crunching rhythm, as the ground opens up to the shudders of a thousand stomping feet.
We clamber through the rubble, as the band disapear, and the lights reveal the seedyness of a hundred year old palaise, with its flaky gold leaf, and metal ladders propped in evey corner. But its all fitting as Tori spoons something from a mug into her mouth and sighs heavily. "Your breathless" someone bellows 'thats the only time I am honey" and a sexy smile dances on her lips, as she fingers her way through leather. We all sing along, but she has plans for the men and the boys amongst us, as her eyes trail seductively along each line. Soon its my turn,and as she sings "I could scream as loud as your last one" I swear she looks me in the eye, and I feel my lips quiver and all the blood from my legs leave me. The lines last a thousand years, she could have me there, and she knows it, she could have anyone of us, and just as I'm about to rip off my clothes, shes moved on.
"Icicle, Icicle where are you going?" The band are back, and the intonating beautifull sounds of her voice, carry endlessly, the lights are blue, and she giggles between lines, this is Tori having a ball, remembering what it took to make those lines perhaps, or lost on the joyous melody. "You all know the next bit." she teases as an infamous phrase of a thousand bedroom fantasys dribbles from her lips.
Honey and spark follow, and Tori has noticed the coiterie of girls,. Shes playing with her freinds, painted hair, glitter faces and silk night gowns,I'm struck by how they seem to be akin to the fans I've seen at Bowie concerts. Indeed, the album that reverberated from the pa before Tori floated on and lit up this drab theatre was Hunky Dory. It all makes perfect sense. She waves at her freinds, they wave back. She blows kisses on the air, and a garden of limbs grasp at the air to catch them.
Were intoxicated, wearied like loloping lovers, Cruel,Waitress infuse like a spiritual rhythmic pulse. The band rock out, the drummer is laughing., as Tori and her axe grinding knights, disapear inside themselves, teeth bared and merging toward a crescendo. Tori writhes on her stool wailing like some sexually possesed banashee. Suddenly its over, she rushes to the front, and summons her band to take a bow with her. And before there off the crowd has already begun to scream for more.
A short moment to catch a breath and shes back "Ly de de ly ly, ly ly ly." The first lines of Tear in your hand send a tumult wave of fans lunging toward the stage, every arm and every voice raised in tribal unison. Were in her hand. God, seems a good place to end, but were barely coming over the cusp when shes off again and the cries for another encore are beginning to unhinge the barouque domed ceiling.
And so on for one final song, Horses, galloping through the chorus with some sort of inner reserved fire. Her spirit undiminished, turning to us some more, laughing, another wave, another brilliant classical arpeggio, a tirelessly haunting angelic voice. In a sweep its over, I can barely find my legs and I feel like I wouldn't want to move even if I could. The house lights go up, and the room suddenly looks grim again. I look to the stage and the crew are already moving to pack away the equipment. Momentarily I feel like an abandoned sexual conquest. But as I make my way toward the exit, a girl with short red hair and a makeshift pair of lace faerie wings skips past.
It feels like magic has touched Liverpool tonight.
From Phil McHoul
May 21, 1998 - I was at the Liverpool gig last night.
The new band is great. Precious Things rocked like hell.
Preferred her gig at the Philharmonic Hall on the last tour though.
The crowd loved it (pity about the sexist pig calling out).
I do know that Tori played Raspberry Swirl for the first time on this tour and also that the songs Leather & Icicle were played by Tori alone during "secret time."
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