North American Plugged '98 Tour
Tori performed in Pittsburgh, PA on November 6, 1998 at the Civic Arena during the main North American leg of her Plugged '98 tour.
Tori performed Winter and Merman solo. Thanks to Matt Page and Richard Handal for calling me on the phone after the show with the set list. Jeny & Phyllis Spiece were the first to email me the set list.
The most recently added reviews are first.
From Jim Mathers (Posted to the RDTRN mailing list)
November 27, 1998 - Adventures at the Civic Area
On Friday I took a day of vacation and spent the day at the Civic Area in Pittsburgh for my first exposure to the Plugged Tour. My first goals were to get Tori autographs for my friend Katja from Finland and Collette from England, meet other fans, survive the 40-degree cold, and to experience the concert. The last time I was at the Civic Area for a concert I sat in the Parents room while my kids saw Jefferson Starship and that was ten years ago.
This day was full of adventures and excitement. My day started at noon with a number 28 written on my hand for Meet and Greet and ended 12 hours later at home. The day was surrounded by people held together by one common thread, they have all become lost in an intensely beautiful sound and have never been the same since. About 75 people were there hoping against hope Tori would appear and were ready to move on a moments notice to a chosen place. There was the German computer programmer, the group from Nanty Glo, PA, the artist trying to sell his paintings to Tori, the scalper looking for tickets, the two girls from Baltimore who lived near Peabody, the girl from Philadelphia who sees her Dad from England twice a year, the pretty girl and her friends from West Virginia, the waitress from a restaurant 1/2 mile from where I work, the hostess at an Applebee's who is either studying, or working her entire life, the mid 40's music teacher looking at the 18-25 year crowd and asking "What the hell am I doing here", the group from Warren, OH, the group from Southern Ohio, the girl selling photos of Tori, the leader of the pack in a green sweater, and others. Tori was off shooting photo shots for her live album and did not make an appearance.
At 5:00 PM the security guard showed up to line us up to enter the basement entrance of the area and sat there in amazement as the group organized themselves into line by numbers. Once inside, I stood about 20 feet from the stage close enough to see the whites of their eyes. During the concert another group of characters came into play: the 5'2" girl behind me jockeying around 6'5"me trying to see the stage, the 1000 closely packed fans standing between me and the washroom, numerous fans with either fingers or cotton in their ears, the nudist Physicist making numerous trips to the piano or the electronic key board trying to get them to work (turn up the volume some more and no one will ever know the piano is out of tune), Tori saying nasty swear words directed at the nudist Physicist about their instruments, and of course the ever present photographer shooting photos of the crowd for the live album. Near the beginning of the concert Tori looked my direction and before the next song made a comment about a fellow looking like Obi-Won Kenobi in the audience (maybe she meant Oldie One Kenobi). And to top it off there was the throwback to my days at the Joni Mitchell concerts in the early 70's when the infamous cloud of marijuana fumes came by.
After the concert I made one final effort to get Tori's autograph for my friends. Where the buses were parked, barricades were set up and about 200 fans were packed three to four deep along the barricades. Tori came out and signed autographs for those only in the first row and was on her bus and I was still standing there with my pen and paper in hand.
You may well ask what I thought of the concert. Tori concerts in the past were marvels of acoustics where Tori was able to transfer all her emotions to the audience and provide an intense experience unmatched by any other major artist in the 90's. At the Benedum Center (Pittsburgh) in 96 the ushers were of my generation and never heard of Tori. After the concert they surrounded me begging for information about Tori and her experience. They wanted to know what album to buy. They too were suddenly lost in an intensely beautiful sound. Such was the power of her live performances. The purist feel that any other musician on the stage with Tori is an atrocity against mankind. They would have cut their wrist at this concert. In a nutshell my opinion is "paradise lost", a victim of an overused formula and insufficient gate returns.
From sara mackey
November 13, 1998 - just finished reading the reviews of the pitt show and thought they were quite thorough. just wanted to add my two cents......
this was my 2nd Tori show(the first being 7/22 in cleveland) and i must admit, i really had a much better time at this one. there was so much more communicating with the audience this time.
i managed to get my tape recorder in-which was a lot harder this time than in cleve.-and have been listening to it non-stop ever since the show. my favorite parts are definitely the little improv ditties she sang. the first, when she was talking about beetles, was simply 'obi-won kanobi, do you know anyone, who can get me a beetle'(verrrry cute!!). the one before winter, after the "electrocution" scare, was something like-'you go to another place, i swear it. and we'll find marianne and matthew...and jimi and john...and billy(or maybe billie-like holiday?)...then straight into winter. my absolute favorite was the one before merman, which was something like 'to a boy in wyoming...and all the girls and boys who get...beat down, beat down...they'll tear you apart, tear out your heart...' and she sang it with so much pain in her voice. it was, without a doubt, the most beautiful and touching part of the show. before her first attempt at merman, she said she wrote it for someone 'who is jellybeans' and waved to the back of the arena-to mark, i'm guessing.
we were on the floor standing almost directly in front of all the sound equipment(about 5 feet from mark the whole show)and every time Tori had problems on stage he would throw up his hands and shake his head like he was getting really frustrated!
the only downside to this show were the rather unsisterly actions and comments coming from a few girls outside, and by that i mean insulting other girls' clothing, appearance, etc. i really don't think Tori would have liked that and i know the people around them didn't appreciate it either.
on the whole, an amazing show. Tori was obviously having a lot of fun on stage, the band was in top form and a really great set list!!!
November 11, 1998 - Well, this was my 8th tori concert so far, but only my 2nd on the Plugged tour...this one however, was a bit more special than the rest. I had met Tori once before in Cleveland on the DDI tour, but that was only briefly as she boarded the bus after her second show of the night. This time in Pittsburgh, I was able to go backstage before the show and meet with her. There were about 15 of us total who went backstage (most of the people were radio contest winners). We waited about an hour until Tori finally arrived. I gave her a bouquet of flowers which she thanked me & my girlfriend, Kim with a big heart- felt hug. She then took a few pictures with us and signed a couple of pictures too. We began to tell her of the places where we had seen her or were planning to see her on the tour and discussed the distances of some of her other shows from Pittsburgh. When we told her about the Cleveland show, she turned to us and said, "Now, I know you're probably not going to remember this...but, what did I wear for that show?" Of course we remembered and we proceeded to tell her. She thanked us saying, "I'm so glad you told me that...I was maybe going to wear that tonight...now I know." As our fasion dicussion ended, I asked her if she could maybe play "Tear in Your Hand." She wrote it on her hand and said she'd see what she could do. She thanked us again and we were on our way. In all, we talked to her for about five minutes. It was great. She was so gracious and kind to us...just like an old friend. Later that night, she played my song. It was amazing! She put the icing on the cake of a very special night neither of us will ever forget.
From Amy Belden
November 10, 1998 - I just got back from the most amazing weekend of my life! My friend Stacy and I live in California, and went to many of Tori's shows on the West Coast. We were feeling rather adventurous and missed Tori emmensley, so we decided to fly out to Pennsylvania for the Pittsburgh and Indiana shows. After taking buses, planes, and automobiles galore, we made it to the Civic Arena. We knew that there was no way to make it to the Meet and Greet before the show, so we were somewhat relieved to hear that she had cancelled it for that afternoon and we hadn't missed out.
We got our tickets and entered the Arena. We walked around for awhile before the Unbelievable Truth came on, and ran into Ben (he drives the sound and lights truck). We had talked to him in Phoenix, AZ and he remembered us, so we chatted with him. Then we took our seats, right as Mr. Puppethead was being attached to the stage. A few moments later, the show was ready to begin. Mr. Puppethead made his grand appearance, as he was wisked up towards the top of the stage! Caton, the Matt "Creeeaatcha", and John were starting in with Precious Things. Tori made her appearance, heart-stopping as usual! Her usual songs were great of course, and she even treated us to Merman! She was completely astounding, and as she went through her set, she chanted to Obi Wan Kenobi to "bring me a beetle," and talked about Bosey being sick, having lice, and about what a great bunch we were (*blush*).
Finally, Stacy and left for the after-the-show Meet and Greet. Unfortunately, we were about second or third row behind the barricades. In the meantime, we caught Steve's eye, and he came over to chat to us. He was happy to see us out on the East Coast, gave us hugs (body heat was sure nice at that point), and we begged him to bring Tori back to warmer weather (such as in California). ; ) Then Ben (the truck driver) chatted with us again and brought us some candy to help us stay warm. Finally, Tori appeared, at first with Mark (such a cute couple!), and then she came to the barricades. She was clad in a black hat to keep herself warm. When she got down to where I was, I told her about how much I missed her after she left the West Coast, and just had to come visit her again. She smiled so preciously and said that I was "so sweet!" Unfortunately she wasn't feeling too well, from the cold and the bus fumes as well as an exhausting day of photo shooting, so Joel (referring to her as "sweat pea") wisked her away. Stacy and I returned to our hotel for some major defrosting. The show had been amazing as usual!!!! The next day was the Indiana show. . .(see the Indiana Reviews page for the rest of the stori)
From Stacy N. Delmonte
November 10, 1998 - Hi, I just got back from a crazy and quick weekend adventure to Pennsylvania. I live in San Francisco and went to the Pittsburgh and Indian shows this past weekend. They were awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We had great seats for the Pittsburgh show and tears came to my eyes when Tori played Merman. There was also a cool "light show" during cruel which i had not seen on previous shows. Afterwards at the meet and greet I got to say hi to Tori and had my picture taken by her photographer. He said to email him for copies if i wanted(if anyone wants his email address just email me). Anyway, Tori was very tired and it was COLD!!! Joel had to hold her up by the end of the meet and greet!!!
From Hot Rod (Posted to the ToriNews mailing list)
November 9, 1998 - The Nov 6 Pittsburgh show was amazing. It was my first Tori show ever and I was amazed by how great it was. From what I hear it was one of the best shows she has done this tour. During the concert she told us that the cover for the live album due out next Christmas was being shot here in Pittsburgh, so we were all really happy about that.
From Richard Handal
November 8, 1998 - Richard called me on the phone after the show with these comments. The show was general admission and was supposed to start at 7:30, but at that time there was still a line of people waiting to get in. That is likely the reason why the Unbelievable Truth did not take the stage until 7:49. They played until 8:19. Tori's show lasted from 8:56 until 10:45. (Her main set ended at 10:18.) Tori's show was an hour and 49 minutes, which is longer than usual for this tour.
Mr. Puppethead is now a star! Before Tori's set, they hoisted the newly rejuvenated Mr. Puppethead really high on a wire and left a red light on him. After the show, Mr. Puppethead made an extended and energetic appearance from Tori's tour bus.
Before Tori started singing "Winter," she said something to the effect of, "Does anyone have connections in Germany? Can you get me a beetle?" Tori must really like the new Volkwagen Beetles. While playing "Winter," Tori started to react to a problem and said to her sound/tech guy Marcel, "Are we going to be okay electrically?" She then joked about being electricuted saying that if she was she was going to find Marianne and Matthew [Shepard], or something like that.
As Tori began "Merman," a girl in the audience started screaming very loudly. Tori stopped playing "Merman" and said, "Oh my god, that's fantastic. Are you always like that?" That had the effect of quieting the person, and Tori then restarted Merman from the beginning.
Tori had problems with her keyboard during Raspberry Swirl. (This has happened during this song before at previous concerts.) Tori says, "My synthesizer is fucked up, I'm going to play the piano." Tori vamped for a while at the piano as a tech guy tried unsuccessfully to fix the keyboard. Eventually, Tori finished the song at the piano.
Tori also mention during this concert that they were taking photos that day for her live album which will be released in late 1999. Her people were also taking photos of the meet & greet after the show.
From Matt Page
November 8, 1998 - Matt called me on the phone and said the show was very high-energy. The actual set list varied from the official set list only during the first encore. Tori had planned to do Hotel and Swirl, but did God and Swirl instead.
From Phyllis and Marian (The Sparkly Twinkle Princess)
November 8, 1998 - Hello all our lovely purple people!! What a phenomenal evening we had at the Pittsburgh show! It was nice to see some of you there.
ANYWAYS.....back to our regularly scheduled post, "Marian and Phyllis' Great Adventure PART UNO". This show was incredible...what more can we say??....just you wait....
the day started out crappy and we were sad. We arrived at the CA no later than 10am, were numbered (Phyllis being #1 and Marian being #10....eh?!?!), and then began to wait. And so we waited....and then we waited....and then we waited a little more....then we went to the hospital....and then FINALLY... we waited more. So THEN Steve came out (at 3:30pm!!!) looking very "Stevely" and he had some pretty sucky news....It had been decided that there would be no meet and greet that afternoon, for "our sakes" so that we did not lose good spots on the floor (because it was general admission) due to waiting for Tori. SO...Phyllis and Marian were sad. By this time, Marian had no legs and Phyllis' hands....WAIT! Phyllis had no hands!!!!!! BUT we became much happier after our splendid dinner of a sandwich and cookie each...yay...
So then we stood in line. I bet you can't guess what we did there!!!!!! Well we waited. And then we waited some more....and then we waited some more....and this time we didn't even get to go to the hospital.... However we were cheered by the fact that we WERE the front of the line. =) How can we explain the not nice qualities that some Tori..."people" have about them? RUDE? OBNOXIOUS? and you know what????? they HAD hands and legs, DAMN THEM. After explaining over and over again that WE WERE THE FRONT OF THE LINE (which was a concept most difficult to grasp for most "common folk") we were escorted by a very very kind security guard (who worked for the venue) into the corrals they call "lines". At this point a very cold, tired, and crippled Marian and Phyllis began to fear for their lives.... the prospect of being squished and trampled by wild raving LUNATICS (aka "Common Folk") was becoming more and more prevalent. So THEN we were allowed in. WOOHOO!!! (the infamous PHYLLIS woohoo...) Well, we ran like hell. Which was very interesting to watch considering that we were both armless, legless, frostbitten cripples. So after running like the wind (they can't catch the wind) we made it to the barricades. FRONT AND CENTER BABY!!!! And then it got funny again. Steve (once again looking very "Stevely")told us that we all needed to sit down. .......HA! I don't think we even need to explain what a hilarious and yet somehow traumatic experience that was. At least we couldn't feel our legs anyways....oy....
Around 8pm the Unbelievable Truth took the stage. All we're going to say about this is: "We're the Unbelievable Truth. Our album is out now and you can buy it."
After this stimulating hour there was the sudden and completely SHOCKING appearance of a random crew guy and Joel. "SH0CKING?!" You ask? Well, we think the fact that they were carrying MR. PUPPETHEAD with them is shocking!!!!!! And you know what is even MORE shocking?!? They tied him to a big long rope and threw him under the stage!! RIGHT IN FRONT OF OUR VIRGIN EYES!!!! Later on around 9pm Mr. Puppethead ended up flying out from under the stage and soaring to the ceiling of the Civic Arena. It would have been better if they had played the National Anthem..... At this point, Marian somehow thought it would be interesting if she blurted at Joel, AND I QUOTE: "Joel! You are like....*brief pause*...a CELEBRITY to me!!" Joel seemed to be in a very good mood and also a bit flattered and rewarded Marian with a HUGE hug and a KISS!!!! WOOHOO!!! (egads...it's catching....) Marian was at this point, a very BRIGHT shade of red. As well as an armless, legless cripple. (Note from Marian: Joel smells REALLY REALLY good!!!! hee hee....)
This was a very special evening. At the concert was a photographer from Atlantic Records. When asked by Phyllis what his purpose in life was, he replied that he was there to take pictures for the album art that would be included in the release of the 1999 LIVE TORI AMOS ALBUM!!!! IT'S OFFICIAL, BABIES!!!!! And after a request from Marian, AND I QUOTE: "Take a picture of us!! We're cute, DAMMIT!" the photographer took a couple of shots of Phyllis and Marian being cute. And a little bit silly. and maybe giggly...but who are we to judge?
*singing* "It's quarter to 9:15 and no one's in the place....except you and me....and TORI!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" So TORI came out on stage around 9pm, and just made us kind of SPAZ out. It was like....umm........heh......orgasmic. We can't even try to go through the details of this setlist. She talked ALOT! It was wonderful. She obviously felt a connection with the audience. It was so incredible. We were in such awe of the whole experience that any technicalities just totally flew over us. it was so awesome. And, being down front and center, a special connection just happened to be made between Tori, Phyllis, and Marian. There was almost constant eye contact or recognition throughout the entire show. We were like...dying...except not....cause our bodies were in shock and didn't know it yet. It was so incredible. (did we mention that it was INCREDIBLE?!)There seemed to be a constant cycle of energy rotation between Tori and Phyllis and Marian. it would go out from us, enter her, exit her, enter us, exit us....you get the idea. We were happy happy cripples.
Phyllis and Marian bonded. nuff said. When together, we definitely are a riot. Just ask anyone who was there.... they won't lie. unfortunately.....
Well, apparently the Atlantic photographer guy was just entranced by our "cuteness" (hello?!? who wouldn't be?!), and was just totally in our faces all night. So when you are buying your copies of THE 1999 LIVE TORI AMOS ALBUM next year and you open it up and see MARIAN AND PHYLLIS on the centerfold, don't be surprised. The camera loves us. It thought we were cute. And so did somebody else......
"Crazylegs" Caton seemed to quickly make a connection with the very flirtatious and very cute Marian and Phyllis. Of course making a connection with Caton is not hard when you are female.... and as cute as us!! That was a GOOD time.....LOL
Alas, around 11pm the show ended. Phyllis and Marian (who had somehow regenerated both their arms and legs--IT'S A MIRACLE!!!) frolicked over to Joel and Phyllis politely inquired if it would be possible for us to obtain a set list. IT WAS! of course it was...this was US we're talking about. And Joel knows his #1 fan when he sees her. (note from marian: he smells really really good!! I swear!!!!!!!) LOL.
So after somewhat regaining their conciousness Phyllis and Marian reluctantly left the Civic Arena. But of course that is not the end of the story....oh no..... Indiana PA, here we come!! We've got lip gloss and nail polish and we are READY TO RUMBLE!!!!!
From Finney (Posted to the Precious-Things mailing list)
November 8, 1998 - Hey guys,
i thought i would tell ya some interesting things that happened at the concert..
tori was dressed in her silver apron and black pants, with some really high heel black shoes.....mr. puppethead was hanging from the wires, near the lights.
tOri said, the piano was sick..and if you see some guys coming out their trying to make her better..."she just need a margarita" !!!
tori asked the crowd if "If anyone is friends with a german" because she wants a beetle..and not the new ones.(She showed us two Little beetle cars)...some guy was taking pictures of her at secret time, and she said he looked like 'oby one canobee' (sorry not a star wars fan, and can't spell this name if my life depended on it)...and she improvised a song about him and a beetle car....
Atlantic was taking pictures for the new live album..they took a great picture of Steve drinking his wine.... matt chamberlain was going nuts on Waitress.....amazing!! Steve almost messed up on Talula, but he caught himself and tori noticed..she goes, "your having to much fun" while still singing.....
I thought the lead singer of Unbelievable truth has a really great voice...I really enjoyed their music...Landslide was the first song, and it was really good..i think if i had there album i would have enjoyed it bettter....
When tori sang Merman (which was the first time i heard it, I only read the lyrics) The lights suddenly went beserk..and she goes, "Marcel is everything ok...if I get electricuted, well it ok because" ..then she sang a short intro to the song, how she will see Marianne, Matthew ( the boy from Wyoming) and her little girl....i nearly cried my eyes out..and I'm not the emotional type....Winter and Merman were powerful songs.....
i loved the song God, "you dropped the bomb on me, jesus" Many, many highlights....I heard it once in philly sneak preview show... I met a wonderful friend at the concert. He had pictures of him and tori, told me places he visited, and kept me entertain while standing in line....i went by myself, because nobody wanted to wait in the freezing cold to see tori :[ For future people "watch out for cornflake girls..i didn't see to many guy cornflakes, they like to cut in line and cause havoc" ;]
From Jen Doran
November 8, 1998 - I just wanted to give you a bit of Tori info I got last night at the Pittsburgh show. Tori and company spent two days in Pgh shooting pictures for the live album due out in '99. They also shot pics at the show. (I'm also suspecting that the Pgh version of "Winter" will be on it..)
Mr.Puppethead made an appearance also.. On a different note, I wanted to let you know that I kept your friend StacEy in my mind during the show.. I hope everything is going alright for you..
November 8, 1998 - We saw Mr. Puppethead last night. He was strung above the stage and also he waved goodbye from the bus!
Tori was amazing as usual. I can't remember the set list exactly, but she played Merman which I had never heard before, which was so beautiful.
From Sergio Noyola
November 8, 1998 - Hey Mike, my name is Serge Ý I went to the Tori concert in Pittsburgh last night, it was awesome, not as good as some but very cool never the less. The show in a whole was 20 minutes late. Unbelievable Truth were o.k. but I was so tired from dancing the night before I almost feel asleep. The show started with the lifting of some sort of stuffed animal-couldn't see what it was but. Tori played 16 songs and they were all great. She did a lot of talking tonight/ She mention that she had been in Pittsburgh for two days already and she mention that she had been shooting the cover for next years live album in Pittsburgh, so she said we shouldn't be surprised if some of the pictures looked familiar.Ý At one point in the show sheasked the audience if we had any connection in Germany to get her a little buggie and proceded in showing the crowd a little buggie she had on her Bosie. At that point she spots a guy who looks like Obi Wan Kenobi from Star Wars and sings a little ditty about Obi Wan asking him to get her a buggie. She seemed to cuss a lot this show. She starting screaming the "F" word during She's Your Cocaine and then during the later part of Caught A Lite Sneeze she threw in a snippit of Nine Inch Nails' "Hurt" which said the "F' word once again. She wore this gorgeous silver gown and the stage lights reflected it well.Ý The secret time which she played Winter and Merman had their own interesting stories. Tori begins Winter and then stops and to ask Marcel something about the lights, they distract her and so she ask Marcel if everything is o.k. cause she says it would be bad if she got electircuted, then she says well maybe and jumps into some hymn lke song about going to heaven. Before Merman Tori confesses She wrote the song for someone but has been playing it with Matt in mind, so now it is his.Ý Other then her Synthesize screwing up at the beggining of Raspberry Swirl and the light in Winter, the entire show went on with flying colors.Ý
From Sam Zets
November 8, 1998 - Pittsburgh was AWESOME!
Pittsburgh was a the third show I've seen on this tour (Cleveland 7/22, D.C. 8/8). The performance was beyond any of the previous shows. It was fantastic, thrilling, fulfilling, mesmerizing, ETC.
She talked about taking photos in town for "the live album" to come out next year. The quality of the PGH show in itself could be THE live album. The only edit would be on raspberry swirl which had technical problems, but otherwise the performance was flawless. We can only hope that in addition to a "live album", that there is a live box set with tons of material from this last leg of the tour where the band is one unit.
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