Tori appeared on the Late Late Show With Craig Kilborn on CBS on late Thursday night, December 19, 2002. (It was really December 20 for most people!) Tori performed a sorta fairytale with the band. (It was the edited single version.) Tori did not speak any, she just performed the song. Look below for some screenshots from this appearance created and sent to me by David Mobley (Dmaster). You will also find a description of the taping from Steve the Sweet Fat Man, who was there.
Many thanks to David Mobley for the screen shots!
Click any thumbnail to see the photo larger.
From Steve the Sweet Fat Man:
One thing I always enjoy when Tori goes on a talk show is how there are always a bunch of screaming Tori fans there, which the host then wryly comments on. I'm sure that, to some people, this solidifies Tori's image as a "cult artist" (which, to be honest, is not entirely undeserved, although it is indeed something of an unfair pigeonhole). But I can't help thinking that, sometimes, hearing this kind of reaction moves people to think, "Hm. Those people sure seem to dig her. Maybe I should check her out." So, perhaps, sometimes this talk show enthusiasm can be seen as a form of outreach.
So, bearing that in mind, I was really happy to become one of those screaming fans at the taping of her appearance on the Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn. The talk show taping experience is fun in general, and it was made even more so by "advocating" for Tori!
The process of getting in to the show was not a lot of fun. It's one of those things where people line up and wait for hours while not really knowing the rules of admission. (It appears that certain kinds of tickets are given priority over others.) Perhaps they feel that, since admission is free, it doesn't have to be fair, which strikes me as a very "Hollywood" sort of attitude. But anyway, the process was protracted, frustrating, and frankly a little demeaning. Fortunately, the Tori factor helped make this part more pleasurable, too; at least there were cool people to hang out with.
And, fortunately, we (I was with Colette, a person I met on @forumz who has become a good IRL friend) did get in. Once that happened, things became a lot more fun quickly. A guy named Roger was the "warm-up" person, whose job it was to essentially whip us into the kind of frenzy that would make us an effective show audience. And he did this job masterfully; he got us pumped-up and vocal without seeming like a shallow "industry weasel" (to use David Letterman's wonderful phrase). He told jokes, talked with audience members, cheerfully bribed us with prizes, etc.
Tori's number was taped first, for very practical reasons. Quite simply, her setup -- even with a baby grand taking the place of the traditional Bosey -- took up a large portion of the tiny Late Late Show stage. (It looks small on television, but even smaller in real life.) So, after Roger reminded us of the importance of greeting guests with enthusiastic standing ovations (of course, he didn't have to worry about the Tori fans in the audience at this moment), Tori came out, giving her traditional two-handed wave. She looked wonderful in a black ensemble which was my favorite of the things I've seen her wear so far this tour.
Jon and Matt took their places, and the band kicked into "A Sorta Fairytale". I was a little disappointed that they did this song, simply because they've done it on a lot of talk shows, but I had to remind myself that these appearances are done to bring in new fans, not to appeal to the die-hards like me. In any case, the performance was as good as if not better than any other TV performances I've seen of this song; Tori seemed more connected to it than she has a couple of times. Certainly not up to the standards of the concert performances I've seen of it, but a nice job.
And just as quickly as she had come in, she gave us a sort of "I love you too" gesture and left the stage. Roger continued his warm-up duties as the crew broke down the musical equipment. (The piano was actually disassembled and boxed up.) So Tori was gone, but as I indicated above, our duty as Tori fans was far from over. We joined in the enthusiasm for Kilborn and his other guests -- William Shatner and Julie Chen -- but throughout the evening, whenever Tori's name was mentioned, we cheered that much louder. And, yes, Kilborn did his part by making bemused comments about our partisan enthusiasm.
And indeed, the "Tori highlight" for me came not during her performance, but during Shatner's segment. (Which was enjoyable in general; he's a charming man who seems quite aware that he's a little silly. He was seemingly sincere in his gratitude for our enthusiasm, and told us he wished we could come to all of his appearances. I couldn't help thinking, well, just make sure to book your talk show appearances with Tori!) It came during the "5 Questions" portion; the last thing Kilborn asked Shatner was to name five Rolling Stones songs in ten seconds. Shatner came up with four songs but got stuck on the fifth. A bunch of people in the audience helpfully shouted out, "Angie!" Gosh, I wonder where that came from?
Because they were trying to tape some holiday shows in advance, the audience was kept in so they could tape another monologue and some connecting bits for another show. While this was still fun, I was starting to get exhausted -- my voice was raw from yelling, and my hands hurt from the incessant applause -- and of course, we weren't yelling for Tori anymore. I could feel a palpable drop of energy in the audience. But finally, we were done, and Colette and I went to the nearby Farmer's Market for dinner. (If you're ever there, try the Brazilian food stand. Excellent.)
So again, what would have been a fun experience in any event -- the irritating process of getting in excluded -- was made even more enjoyable by fulfilling that "higher purpose". I honestly felt like I was doing my job as a good Tori fan, supporting her in the necessary task of talk show outreach. With that done, I can claim my reward -- two more performances by her in the context where she really shines.