Orange County Register
May 15, 1998

Added May 18, 1998

There is a Tori article in the May 15, 1998 edition of the Orange County Register called "A hunka burning Tori Amos" by Ben Wener. It concentrates on the devotion people have for her and the Dent is even mentioned in the article. I basically liked this article, though I strongly deny the line that says, "Whitehead apparently lives only to chart Tori's ever-changing course." I do have a life away from this web site Mr. Wener! Many thanks to Kerry for sending this article to me.

Seems we've caught a lite case of Tori fever.

The past few weeks have brought a mini-mania over one-of-a-kind singer- songwriter-pianist-nature girl Tori Amos, and the industry machine has been quick to fuel our desire. First, there was the single, a wicked little number called "Spark," and its accompying freakish video. MTV and KROQ can't stop playing the thing. Then came the album: "from the choirgirl hotel," an expertly executed work that is easily the best thing the woman has done since her debut.

That, plus a few thousand lithographs delivered with pre-ordered copies, would have caused enough of a stir with Tori nuts. But wait: Then came the rare club show last week. A few thousand lined up to get all of 600 or so tickets. So overstuffed was El Rey Theatre going to be that at the last minute the fire marshal ordered the gig moved to the Wilshire.

Then Tori gave a sparkling performance on "The Tonight Show" on Monday. And Saturday the Tori Army will come out in full force when tickets go on sale for two more shows: Spet. 18 at Arrowhead Pond of Anaheim and Sept. 22 at the Greek Theatre.

(Not to mention the swelling ranks of Tori-centric Web sites. If you're into her, it's certainly worth joining at - members get extra pictures and notes and such - while Toriphoria, at [the site is now at], provides a full portrait of Tori in her own words. But I got a bigger kick from Michael Whitehead's colossal, deeply personal "A Dent in the Tori Amos Universe" site, at To call it comprehensive is an understatement. Whitehead apparently lives only to chart Tori's ever-changing course. He even had photos of "The Tonight Show" appearance a mere hour after it aired).

Now, however - and virtually out of nowhere, though certainly designed to keep the Tori tide rolling - truckloads of copies of a Canadian video release, "Tori Amos: Live in NY" (Warner Home Vision, $24.95), have flooded local record stores. It turns out to be an indespensible document for the Tori- phile, and not just because it's one more way to check out rock's most ravishing beauty in all her glory.

Rather, it's likely to be seen as the pinnacle of Tori's first phase, the moment of near-perfection in which she bids adieu to the intense woman-at-her- piano routime she first used to gain attention at a time when too-loud guitars and mindless headbanging were once again taking over.

Naturally, she exhausted that stance; the die-hards will quibble, but there really are only so many things one can do with solo voice and instrument. That Tori has dubbed her latest world tour "Plugged '98" and is now playing with a full band is self-acknowledgment that a shakeup was required.

Not that she won't ever find power in such simplicity again. (Nor, though, will she ever achieve anything as naked and extremely emotional as her her a cappella "Me and a Gun," here delivered almost teary-eyed - ditto "Winter" - and with more drama than most actresses can muster.) It's only that, after six years, she might explore new terrain, especially given that her last album, the scattershot "Boys for Pele," didn't exactly set the world on fire.

Suprisingly, however, much of that record's material shines during this 100-minute performance from January 1997, initially considered the cornerstone of the singer's yearlong fundraising campaign for her RAINN (the Rape and Incest National Network) organization. "Blood Roses" and "Talula" benefit from biting use of harpsichord and Tori's tricky timing, while "Muhammed My Friend" gets some help from Tool frontman Maynard James Keenan.

Still, it's during material she knows like the back of her hand when Tori is best. Much of her annoying, hesitation-laden arranging is gone (though "Silent All These Years" could still be tightened); it now seems less like she's searching for the next chord, more like the grand pauses she's trying to create are intended. "Little Earthquakes" and "Pretty Good Year" have rarely sounded better, while "Winter" could very well be a definitive version (if such things exist).

Let yourself get caught under her spell (its not hard) and you begin to understand the dazed wonderment on the faces of her minions, both on this tape and wherever else you encounter them. Tori Amos is sometimes predictable, often confusing, a little too obvious (what's with the early Kate Bush prancing before "Cornflake Girl"?), always convoluted and occasionally impenetrable.

But she's also instantly hypnotic. And the epitome of cool. Try taking your eyes off her when she sneers and snarls and barks and purrs (then plays innocent) on "Leather" and "Precious Things." You may not understand what she's on about, but she'll suck you in all the same.

Please give me feedback, comments, or suggestions about my site. Email me (Michael Whitehead) at