Tori taped an episode of the one hour program VH1 Storytellers in New York City on October 24, 1998. This episode debuted on VH1 in the U.S. on Sunday, February 21, 1999 at 10:00PM ET/PT. (It was repeated again 3 hours later at 1:00AM.) The program featured Tori singing the following songs in this order:
Silent All These Years
Below you will find a few comments on the show and 100 photos! Below that you can still read various reviews and comments from Ears With Feet who were at the taping, where many more songs were performed. Tori has publicly joked about how the taping of the program made her want to kill herself. If you read the various taping accounts you will see that the main reason was likely a conflict with the show's producers, who had different ideas on how to tape the show than Tori did. They would want her to repeat an entire song when Tori did not feel like she could go there again. Despite this, it was still an enjoyable program! Make-up artist Kevyn Aucoin did Tori's makeup for this appearance. (According to Elizabeth W. you can also see him in the audience while Tori is singing Raspberry Swirl.)
VH1 Storytellers was shown again on Friday, February 26, 2000 in the U.S. It was likely shown at other times as well, and in other parts of the world. Musimax in Quebec, Canada broadcast it on October 18, 2000, and MuchMoreMusic in Canada broadcast it on November 14 & 15, 2000.
Here are a few of my thoughts about the broadcast:
I don't have a full transcript of this program, but here is what Tori Tori said before she played "Raspberry Swirl" on this show:
"In some of my relationships with a few of my woman friends I play a certain role. [laughs] This is really getting ehhh ehh.....I hope my father's not watching this, he just doesn't know what to do - the straight jacket's coming. but you know, i always told my dad, you know, gays, lesbians he just has to get used to it; one of his nieces and nephews is going to be one, he's just gotta get ready. so, um, what i said to Beene, who is the love my life, my husband understands this, is that, um, well we're married; we're absolutely married. And i adore her with all my heart. and she's dated some idiots, and i hope you're watching. i want you to know what i think of you, and um, in another life i'll absolutely kick your ass. and i'm going to kick it right now actually because this is for Beene, and I'm in love with her."
How's it going? I just saw your post regarding Storytellers/Crossroads, and thought I'd email you and let you know that I have seen the final edited version which will be airing on VH1 (in fact, I have my very own copy, woo hoo!) and there are some nice shots of you, especially during Raspberry Swirl. Personally, I am mortified at the shots included of me, but that's ok. It just means I won't be in any hurry letting friends and loved ones know when it will be airing. :) They did a really nice job editing though, and left in some really great parts, such as the "doingedy-doing" game thing, and the whole segment where she talks about playing at the Mariott, writing Silent All These Years, etc. Oh yeah, and the whole iieee story, which I loved. Unfortunately, they decided to cut Northern Lad and both the stories that went along with it (as I had a feeling they were going to, way back when), as well as Take to the Sky, which I was really hoping they would decide to air. I saw the rough cuts, and really wanted to see a fully edited version. But oh well, what they included is a damn fine hour of television, I must say. That's really such a great show. Oh yeah, and I forgot to mention that they only play about half of winter, over the opening sequence, which I thought was weird. Other than that, the songlist that was released over the internet is completely accurate.
From Beth Coulter
Oh wow! This was such an experience and you all have a treat in store when Tori Amos: Storytellers is shown (in maybe 6 weeks?).
There were two lines, one near the wall for those of us on "Tori's List", and a line near the street for the radio winners. John Witherspoon finally came up to the ToriList line (really true Toriphiles like Dor and William Fuentes, Matt Page, Mike Solomon; the new editor of RDT fanzine, and Kate who flew standby from Texas, and of course my daughter, my friend Anthony and myself, amongst others) and had about 15 of us enter the studio first. After the director and Johnny W. shuffled folks around in the first and second rows, we had our seats. Front and center, 7 feet from Tori! Mike Flattery of VH1 talked to us about being really supportive of Tori, that this could be a real nerve-wracking experience and he needed us to laugh when she was funny, and to move when she played and rock out when she rocked. He told a funny story about during the John Melloncamp taping, one guy in the front just sat while those around him were rocking out, arms crossed, looking like he was constipated. Then he said he had chosen 6 questions submitted by audience members and if your name was called, you were to stand. The first question was by two girls who were seated in the very back who were given space in the front. The next two were people who near the front. The fourth name called was mine. I couldn't believe it and my daughter had to nudge me to stand up.
It was time. Mike said, "let's welcome Tori Amos to Storytellers." Cheers and applauding as the boys took the stage and Tori came up. She was dressed in black cargo pants, black waist tied sweater over a white T. Looking much thinner than she has of late. Great high heeled leather boots! She immediately went into "Cornflake Girl" and really rocked on. Then she said, "Hi, Welcome to Storytellers. When they asked me to do this, I was really excited but now I'm like pissing my pants."
She started talking about her grandmother, that she was an ordained minister which was a big deal for a woman in the Appalachians, and then she fucked up. She stuttered a couple of times, laughed and said, "Can I start again, can we do this over?" She started playing a few bars of "As Time Goes By" and sang the last line and restated the welcome. She told another story about her Grandmother, how she thought that little Tori was a demon. She expected her to give her mind to God and her body to a man in marrige. At age 5, Tori knew they were mortal enemies. That led into the rockin' version of Precious Things that concert goers have become accustomed to.
She began talking about how "we" like wine, real fine red wine. The hangovers are something else, but she had begun to have visions. It could have been the wine, but no wine was *that* good. "I had a bad pregnacy, lost the baby and started seeing this little boy, like age 7, Zuni or Pueblo Indian, with these great black bat wings. Now this sounds like a bad Dustin Hoffman Virus movie, but I had these dreams. I'd go from town to town to play, but everyone was dead before I got there. Every town. I had this great '57 convertible with a matching dress and he would sit in the back with his wings out. This boy said that I had to build fires, which got me excited cause I'm an arsonist, and he would chant to me. He'd go E-E-E I-I-I E-E-E" and with a push of a key, the backup vocals for iieee came on. She went into the song full force, gripping her stomach during the "sacrifice" part. It was so beautiful, she sounded so great.
She introduced her "brothers" at this point and said she was talking to them about telling what they do before shows. "I've got tigerbalm being rubbed on me and sage burning and cleansing. I don't know what Caton does in his dressing room but it sure is busy." A wink and Steve shrugged and blushed a bit. "I've got all these teletubbies in my dressing room, like Dipsy has all these peace ritual symbols on him. But before a show, we all get together and do 'doinged de de doing'; come on guys, let's show 'em." The guys joined her in the center of the stage and Tori laughed. "I spent 7 hours writing stuff for this and I'm reduced to Doinged dee doinged." This was they all said it while pounding fists together. Then someone stops and says something silly and they pick a song. They continue doing it till they are up for the show. The boys went back to their places (all looking slightly embarressed) and Tori started storytelling again. About how she hides behind her piano since she was 2 1/2 and how she felt like Mary Magdelene. "You guys know how *evil* she was. Well, at the piano, Dad couldn't figure out what all the wiggling was about." giggle.
"There was one year, Thanksgiving. Well, I think it was Thanksgiving, there was a bird and forks going down. Well my Dad tells me he is really hurt by one of the songs about him. I asked him what was wrong and he tells me, 'You call me Satan'. I told him, 'No Dad, it's not about you. See, I took this really wacky drug with this South American Shaman and like had visions and met the devil. That's what it's about. And my Dad says, 'Praise Jesus!'". She played father lucifer, singing the "steve mcqueen" vocals for once. After that, it was a tape change and Kevin, Tori's make-up artist, was introduced as he was reapplying her lip gloss and getting her water, Evian. She called it "Product Placement" and asked someone to get her some more "product placement". She had spilled part of her bottle. One of the crew came up to her and told her they needed to wipe it up, because of all the cords and stuff and she said, "Oh, like we are all going to light up if it doesnt' get wiped up." She grabbed some tissues from William, and when that didn't work, acted as if she were going to remove her pants to mop with. Thankfully for her, a crew member brought out a couple of fluffy blue towels and the spill was all taken care of.
She started talking about the time after "Y Kan't Tori Read", it was in the toilet and she was writing songs for people like Cher and Tina Turner. She sang part of one for Cher called "But I'm Experienced Babe" and did a passable imitation of both Cher and Tina. But nothing sold. She said that during that time she had "like really big hair. Touching the ceiling, you guys know about AquaNet?" During this time, she became aquainted with Al Stewart who told her that it was obvious she had never had really good red wine. So he took her out and introduced her to really fine red wine. She decided to write him a song to thank him, but when she played it for a friend, the friend said, "Tori, that's fucked up. That's your life story." "So Al didn't get it." She started playing Silent All These Years. Her voice was so sweet, she was in top form. She was really getting into playing for us and talking to us. A whole lot of friends in a living room was the feeling that pervaded the studio.
She asked if we could do the questions at this point. The first girl asked about the meaning of Hey Jupiter, where it really came from. "Well, I was doing some really bad things, I was involved in this love triangle and it wasn't good. One night this strange englishman sat on the edge of my bed and sang me this song. He was definately dead, and this is definately his song. Now I thought about turning over the copyright to his widow, but I decided that she is a bitch so I didn't. ha." And she started singing "Hey Jupiter".
Second question: "When you are performing, what do you think about?" "Food." Tori smiled, then said, "Not really. The songs are always changing meaning for me, they always have a new face on them, so that's what I think about.
Third question: "I really notice your stream of consciousness in your lyrics and was wondering if that's how it really is for you?" "No, I am just hearing out sounds most of the time." She begins playing "Icicle" and improvising words: "Dunno what you're gonna say, but you're playing every day..." for about 8 bars, then stopped like the phone rang. "Hi Beene. what's up? Did he ask you out? Oh, cool. Well, miss you, kiss you, bye", then back to the improv on Icicle for 8 more bars. "And that's the way it happens." And she sang Icicle.
Now here was my turn, but they had to do another tape change. It was decided only one more question and they wanted number 5 to ask cause she would play Winter because of his question. Mike F. told me I wrote a really good question and to keep writing. *giggle* But somehow, Joey the stage manager decided I was to ask my question. He told the crew where I would stand (the complete opposite from where the others stood), handed me the mic and I waited a moment for the tape to roll. I seemed to have cut Tori off after I said hi. My daughter is conviced that Tori was going to tell me my name, but I said it myself. "Hi Tori, I'm Beth and my question is, well, I write better than I speak, so I'm going to read it." Mandy held my card for me while I read out the question. "What inspiration or situation contributed to the writing of 'take to the sky'?"
She smiled at me and said, "It was the first song that began Little Earthquakes. After Y Kan't Tori Read was deep in the toilet, I was living behind this church. I started to really get into the rhythms of it all, the catholism, but being protestent I must have been Catholic Channeling." She began to beat out the rhythm of it and said, "I'll play a little for you." and began to sing "Take to the Sky". I felt a bit foolish standing there with the mic in my hands, just me alone in the aisle, but I knew I couldn't move until she was done. As soon as she finished, I turned and gave the damn mic back to Joey and took my seat, very glad my moment in the lights was over.
Turns out that there was time for the fifth question. He asked about the significance of horses, that they are present in some of her songs, like Horses and Winter. "Well, Horses is part two of Winter. I was leeching off the men in my life; don't get me wrong, they were leeching off me, but I didn't like who I was. So my Dad and I were walking out in the old farm, my grandmother's farm, she really wasn't a nice person. Now my Dad, he's like James Dean or Billy Graham, though there's no real difference there. I was telling him how bad I felt cause of the first album being so bad and Dad said to me (he'd never said it before), 'Tori Ellen, When are you going to accept you are good enough for you?'" And she began Winter. Half way through she was crying a bit and had tears at the end of it. I even had tears. She looked so beautiful at that moment, transended. Like she had reached a point where she was finally no longer nervous and the groove was starting.
She started talking about the covers she has done, that when she covers a song it's not because she just likes it, but she needs to put a charecter to it. Like with Teen Spirit, she had always wanted to be a cheerleader, but was told she didn't have enough rhythm! And one day she was driving a truck--"I love Trucks"--and heard this song and loved it. But she had to have a charecter, so she decided she was Jane and has stolen this letter that has been written and is reading it aloud. "Famous Blue Raincoat". The closeness we all felt in the audience was evident on Tori's face. So understandably she was upset when she was told the boys had to come out again to redo some songs where the audio fucked up. Tori whined a little and said, "But we're becoming so intimate." *pout*
Because they had to redo Cornflake Girl, Tori turned to the boys and told them they would do it "regular", meaning she started with the a cappela intro. When they got into it, Caton showed off the dancing skills that have given him the nickname "Crazy Legs". They were all really rocking out and it was so much better than the first time around. Then there was some discussion going on between Tori, Johnny and Mike F, so Jon started playing this jazzy rhythm, Matt picking up the backbeat and Steve dancing like a slow Flamingo dancer. We cheered them on and it looked like they were having a blast. Tori sat down and they redid Precious Things, complete with Crotch grab (editing will have fun with that shot!).
More Stories. Tori said there was one thing that has been kept out of the media, and she can only thank her girlfriends (and some boy-friends) that have been loyal to her. In between her Sylvia Plath and heavy classics and non-fiction, she used to have books like The Flames of Love, etc. Trashy romance novels. She felt ashamed, but was so hooked on them. But one day she was talking to Beene and was reminded how she used to always read them but not anymore, and why was that? "Because I met this guy, he's no white knight, but I wrote this for him." and went into Northern Lad. After she finished, she told us, "I'm really not supposed to talk about him, see we made a deal; I married him."
At this point, there was a problem with one of the lights, so everything stopped while Kevin gave Tori a "Lip Gloss Boost" and then asked if the person with the last question wanted to ask it now during the break. Chris stood up and told her back in '96, he was one of about 8 people at this radio station and she had played a new song, that is now "Never Seen Blue". He wanted to know where it had come from. Tori was a bit surprised; "I did? I sang that? Oh shit. See, it's about the same guy that I'm not supposed to talk about about and I lied about Northern Lad and I don't have another lie." And she played it. So beautiful.
They wanted her to redo "Hey Jupiter" but Tori was adament. "It got messed up the last 8 bars. I'll give you the last of it and you can cut it in. I can't do it again, I can't get there again.", meaning that she couldn't recapture the moment and didn't want to lose the specialness that it had the first time. So she sang the last verse.
"Now, I work with an all english crew and they are always telling me that I speak American and therefore am not always clear. But I wanted to write this person a song to tell him that he was just ... jellybeans to me." And she replayed Northern Lad.
"OK, Now I don't do hairpie. Oh god, I hope my Dad doesn't watch this, he can't deal with this stuff, but I tell him he should cause one of these days one of the nieces or nephews are going to 'come out', but anyway, my husband and I are "Married" but my friend Beene is, we are married. Now she has had some real bad relationships, there is this one, if I ever see him I'm gonna kick his ass and well" straight into the camera, "I'm gonna kick his ass right now. This is for Beene." Matt starts banging with all 6 hands on the oil drum and Raspberry Swirl started to rock. We had been told not to stand, to rock in our seats. But Tori stopped in the middle of the song. "I know what I'm doing, I'm saving your show and a lot of embarressment. Everyone on your feet and shake your asses." The techno squeal started again and it was, "Let's Go!" Everyone was dancing and rockin' and having a general good ol' time till we were all so exhausted.
Tori stood and we all remained standing, giving her the standing ovation she deserved. She hugged Kevin next to me and hugged a few other people down the row and left. We all took a deep breath in and it was over. We gathered outside to wait for her, but Joel came out and said, "Look, this is the thing. Tori is really tired and just wants to eat and get back to the hotel. So like you guys know, you can go anywhere you like, but you can't stay here." So the three of us left. A group seemed to stay behind, but my personal feelings are if Tori can't deal with it, then I honor her wishes. Period.
So folks, that is the Storytellers experience. She started at 8:10 and finished at 10:50. It was quite a trip indeed. It'll be interesting to see what made it into the final cut. As for me, well, I'm the chick with the long red hair, green and tied-dyed indian shirt and black leather pants. Yes, for Tori I wore my leather.
I hope to write down my very personal experiences today or tomorrow and I'll post that on my web page. I wish you all could have been there, but then I guess it wouldn't have been the nice intimate setting if you had been. ;) I want to thank Anthony for taking notes for me and my daughter for filling in what I had forgotten.
From silverfish (Posted to the Precious-Things mailing list.)
First of all, let me just publicly thank Beth for that incredible account of what went on on Saturday night. She did a great job of summing up that amazing evening for everyone, not to mention giving those of us that were there a great way of remembering what our feeble minds were already forgetting and blurring together. :) A good time was definitely had by all.
I'd just like to add some of my own memories and impressions, for anyone who's interested to read. One thing that definitely struck me was Tori's habit of drinking from her water bottle, and then spitting the water on the stage. I wish I had gotten the chance to ask her why she does that, although I probably wouldn't have anyway. She did make a comment to Kevin Aucoin about not wanting to have bladder problems though, so perhaps that was why. It was cute.
Another comment that struck me was that when she was talking about her reasons for writing Hey Jupiter, she mentioned that she had called John (her tour manager) during the Under the Pink tour and told him that she felt she had to end the tour, because her heart was broken. It was heartbreaking to hear her talk about it. She answered the question very abstractly though, evidently because she was not entirely comfortable talking about it. When the question was asked, she kind of hesitated, and then made a hilarious gesture in which she pretended to stick her finger down her throat.
Also, when introducing Northern Lad (the first time around), she was talking about how when a relationship gets to a certain point of intensity, she starts to have trouble with words, so she writes songs instead to express how she feels. She said something like, "You know, when it gets to be like peanut butter and jelly between adults," while smashing her hands together. I'll never think of peanut butter and jelly the same way!
I also loved the part when she was talking about her past jobs playing in Mariott lounges. She began playing some lounge-style music, while laying her head down on the piano and pretending to fall asleep, only to be woken up in a start by someone warning her that the boss was coming.
I know that the experience was extremely draining for her (At one point, she was backstage having a little pow-wow with John and the director, and she kept repeating melodramatically "I'm going to kill myself when this is over. I'm going to kill myself when this is over!"), but she pulled it off perfectly. She has the ability to just capture the attention of everyone in the room, and have them hanging on her every word. She sure knows how to keep everyone laughing too!
So there you have it, some of my lasting impressions of the taping. I wish that all of her fans could have been there, because it really was for the fans before anyone else. Not like a talk show appearance, or even MTV Unplugged, which are meant to appeal to a broader audience. It was an experience that I will never forget, and feel lucky to have been a part of.
Ok, one word... WOW! As many of you know I did indeed get the tickets to the taping of Tori's VH1 Storytellers! And WOW! I was in the front row, like ten feet away from her. She looked directly at me and smiled! I am in heaven!! Moving on.... Oh how can one move on from this?! LOL It was amazing. I could NOT believe I was there for one, then as I got in I just COULD NOT believe I was in the front row. It was all to exhilarating. This is was the set list: "Cornflake Girl" - the new version with the band Oh my Goddess was it excellent!
"Precious Things" - again the new version with the band. When she did the "..with those nine inch nails and little facist panites tucked inside the heart of every nice girrrrrrrrrl" I was clapping and hooting! It was most excellent!
"iiieeee" - heart wrenching when I heard the story behind it.
"Father Lucifer" - the story behind this was neat and funny!
"Silent All These Years" - this was solo... very beautiful
"Hey Jupiter" - it was also solo and the story was about two men she loved... oh excellent
"Icicle" - prompted by a question... very cool
then the Redid "CornFlake Girl" and "Precious Things" both VERY different from the first time!
"Take to the Sky" - someone asked what made her want to write that song. And she explained it was the first song for Little Earthquakes.
"Winter" - we learn it was the sister song to "Horses"
"Famous Blue Raincoat" - she talked about how she does a cover song how she "has to get into character"
"Northern Lad" - oh beautiful... I cried!
"Never Seen Blue" - about her husband. Too cool!
Re-do of "Northern Lad"
THEN !!!! "Raspberry Swirl" - Oh my it was too awesome! She got us all up and had us dance about! I know I will look like a fool on camera but I don't even care!! ROFL!
P.S. To Mike at "A Dent in the Tori Universe".... THANK YOU!!!! Without him I would not have known about this for one... and not have gotten in!! THANK YOU!!!
i went t o vh1's story tellers last night... it was so incredible! i was in a trance for three hours... i don't remember the order... but she played...
take to the sky
never seen blue
famous blue raincoat
sorry i can't remember any thing else...but i got to ask her a question and i got to talk to her on a vh1 special... then she sang HEY JUPITER for me...
From Benjamin Mobley
Tonight was simply amazing! She said some things about songs that I had never heard before.
The setlist (and not in order)
Precious Things (twice)
Cornflake Girl (twice)
Famous Blue Raincoat - solo
Take to the Sky - solo
Silent All These Years - solo
Winter - solo
Hey Jupiter (had to do a retake of the last verse or so) - solo
Northern Lad (twice)
Never Seen Blue - solo
she did bits of *misty* (without vocals - it was during a story about the marriotts she used to play), *as time goes by*, and some short little something about deja vu.
Once I sit down tomorrow and try and remember specifics, I will probably email you something more in depth. She did this funny bit about the song she wrote for cher (i'm experienced babe was the title i do believe) and she sounded just like her. lol.
Thank you SO much for helping out in the way you did.
icicle too...sorry. Someone else would have a better memory right now. LOL
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