Tori's Rising Popularity & The Issue Of Arena Concerts

Updated May 19, 1998

If you subscribe to any of the Tori mailing lists you may have noticed some discussion of the fact that Tori will be playing some really large arenas on her upcoming Plugged '98 tour in North America. Some fans have been disturbed by this, while others see it as a natural progression. It has generated lots of interesting discussion and viewpoints. I have created this page to gather some thoughts on this subject from the Toriphile Community. What do you think about Tori's rising popularity and the fact that she will be playing some large arenas this summer and fall? I start off with two really well written postings on this issue from Beth Winegarner and Steve The Sweet Fat Man.

You will now find the latest additions to this debate after the first two posts by Beth and Steve. You can click here to get to the first of the new additions.

From Beth Winegarner

May 7, 1998 - I know a lot of people have posted about their experiences at the SF show last night, and at all the club shows so far. I didn't wait in line like most folks did -- I was lucky and got a press ticket through Atlantic, since I was reviewing the show (set to go up on sonicnet/addicted to noise's site sometime soon).

But there's something I've been thinking about since last night's show that I haven't seen discussed at any length... and it's something that's really bothering me, as much as I try not to let it.

One of the things I had really been looking forward to, aside from the show itself, was the meet & greet beforehand. I knew there would be a lot of people there, but I really had no idea. My small group was just trying to stay in a place where we thought we'd see her when she arrived, but we got yelled at by everyone -- the Fillmore staff, the girls in the front of the line who'd been there for two days, everyone -- even though we only wanted to say hi to her and then we'd go to the back of the line.

Even though I managed to see her bus pull up, and we waited alongside the barrier, Tori was only outside for about 5 minutes, saying hi to a few people before going inside. And to tell the truth, the way people were behaving, I can't blame her. I had had a pretty important message for her, and I know Violet, who had been waiting right next to me, had something she needed to tell Tori as well. But we never even had a chance. Everyone was rushing the barriers, screaming her name.

However, I had told myself beforehand that it would be ok if I didn't get to meet her this time, because I'd gotten to interview her before and everything, and will probably be able to do so again. So it wasn't a huge deal. It was just -- the way things were handled could have been so much better.

But the really sad news was the announcement of the places she'll be playing when she comes back to san francisco this fall. She's playing the Arco Arena on Sept 14, and the *New Arena in Oakland* Sept 15 (formerly the Oakland Stadium). Folks, even when the Spice Girls come to town they're not playing anyplace that big. This is the place where Elton John performed and Celine Dion is scheduled to perform. It's a fucking *arena* in every sense of the word.

I nearly cried when I heard the news. I know, a lot of you probably think I'm overreacting. But however much sense this makes in terms of how many tour stops she'll have to make, marketing, etc etc etc, I can't bring myself to believe that having Tori play arenas makes any kind of sense at all. It's not going to be intimate or enjoyable or spiritual -- how can she tap into the energy of that many fans, some of whom are sitting thousands of feet away from her?

I know they still have the time to change their minds, but I don't know whether they're going to. What are these people thinking? Johnny Witherspoon, her tour manager, should know better than to do something like this that could basically destroy Tori's core audience's desire to seek her out in a live setting anymore -- and fragment our loyalty to her. I'm feeling right now like I wouldn't even want to GO to an event like this, or if I do, I'll pick Arco because it's much smaller.

I'm just so sad and I feel betrayed by the people who represent Tori. I wanted to find out how everyone else has been feeling, especially those of you who took the time to wait in line all that time -- was the club show worth it? Would you go to an arena to see Tori? Would boycotting do any good?

I think we all need to think about this, of course, I could be wrong... but it seems really important.

The following is a follow up post Beth made a few days later to the one above ...

I've been noticing, over the past 5 days, that people misunderstood when I asked if a boycott would do any good. I didn't mean I WANTED to boycott, I was just bringing up the idea to see what people thought of the idea. Just as a matter of discussion. I don't like seeing myself painted as disloyal -- I love Tori as much as everyone else here does -- and if I wind up deciding not to go to these arena shows, it won't be in terms of a 'boycott' so much as I may decide that seeing Tori in an arena would be worse than not seeing her at all.

Again, I haven't made up my mind, and it's still a month or so till tickets go on sale here, so I have some time to think things over. I would hope people have the ability to respect my decision, whatever may be right for me.

I've just been reading Steve's post on the Dent (after mine) and while I understand his point of view, I'm not sure how ready I am to come to terms with it.

I only posted what i did to air my own concerns, and find out how others were feeling -- not to suggest some point of action or protest.

From Steve The Sweet Fat Man

May 12, 1998 - I just read a really well-stated post by Beth W. on the Dent page bemoaning the fact that Tori is going to play arenas on the main tour. I just wanted to say here why I, with respect, disagree with her. And I'll try to state my opinion as well as she did.

We just have to face it, folks. Tori is getting more and more popular, and with a relatively accessible new album out, that trend will almost certainly continue. There are more and more Tori fans all the time, and we can't really fit into mid-sized venues anymore. Not unless Tori busted her ass even more than she's going to already (with a two-year tour planned and all) by playing several dates in each city, and I for one don't want her to risk her health that way.

And, we also have to remember that Tori is not a non-profit artist. I think she's always struck a good balance between thinking of her fans and her pocketbook, and I certainly don't begrudge her the latter. There is absoulutely no reason that she shouldn't be richly rewarded for what she does. I *want* her to be wealthy. She deserves it.

And as far as the first part of the balance goes, I think she's still more than keeping her end of the bargain up. She's done the club/small venue tour, and taken steps to make sure that the vast majority of the tickets end up in the hands of the hardcore fans. (The procedure may have been flawed at times, but the intent was there, and I think it worked for the most part.) And I honestly do think that she will work her ass off to make sure that the arena shows are as personal as possible, as well as taking advantage of the increased technical capabilities of the large venues (which she has said that she intends to do, I believe; I think we can expect a truly spectactular light show for example).

This is Tori we're talking about, people. She has a well-established record of keeping her fans in mind, and I think that she'll continue to do that, even though things have changed. That's why it saddens me to see folks throw around words like "betrayal" and "boycott". I think it is absolutely not a betrayal for her to play arenas. And I will absolutely not boycott the shows.

I'll be there. I may be a ways back, but I'll groove on the lights and the sounds and the charisma that I'm sure will still fill the arena. (Again, this is Tori we're talking about, and if anyone can electrify a venue of any size, she can.) And if I can't see her face...well, hell. I know what she looks like. :-)

From Sarah

May 19, 1998 - I just wanted to add my opinion after reading letters about the arena shows. The only time I have seen Tori live is when she played the Fox Theater in Atlanta. With only her and occasionally Caton on stage it was perfect. Now that she has the band and a bigger sound, it is time for bigger venues. Before she could not sonically fill up an arena, but now she can rock out in those places. In Atlanta, it is not going to make that much of a difference, as she is going to play in an ampitheater she has played in before. Also, when you go to a concert, you go to see Tori not the building.

From Joel Spitzer

May 19, 1998 - One thing people have not mentioned about the arena thing: She is probably under pressure from her record company to "go huge". There is serious potential to make significant cash. And whether she gives a shit or not, her record company most certainly does. I support her in this but I also am thankful to have seen her in '94 and '96. I will also look forward to seeing her in a small setting again with and without a band. To sum it up: It kinda sucks, but more power to her if she can pull it off and enjoys it.

From Melissa

May 19, 1998 - I also have a need to express my two cents about the tori arena shows. For the past week I've been debating wether or not I should get tickets for the Tori show in Detroit at the Palace. I've been there before.. in fact I saw REM and the Indigo Girls there. Needless to say I fear that there will be a lack of intimacy at these shows. After seeing Tori at The Fox.. Hill Auditorium.. and another place in Pittsburgh.. The Palace seems somewhat sterile. But, after an extended listening to the new album I think the music fits into these bigger places. I listen to Rasberry Swirl and I want to get my groove thang on. I want to dance around. The Palace in the perfect place for a party will the choirgirls. I remember tori once saying that she plays to the energy an audiences exudes. She gives us back what we give her. The energy from a crowd as large as the Palace holds? I can't even imagine.. I think it will be intense.

From Christy

May 19, 1998 - I think that everyone had a great time at her show.I also think that everyone thinks of Tori as there own, and no one really wants to share her. And its hard to deal with the fact alot of us that have seen Tori and smaller shows and had the chance to meet her always want to meet her again. I do not like the fact that she will be playing arenas but unfortunatley thats the facts of life. As frustrating as it is that she will be playing arenas we should be glad that she does make and effort to meet her fans even if its only for a minute.We would all like to hang out and feel like Tori is interested in what we have to tell her.Also maybe if enough people wrote her management company maybe next time around she will not choose the arena route either way a chance to see her I would take even if that ment arena. So just a little insite I was one of the many that waited over night and in the rain and I am sure I was to closer than anyone else but it was a great show she is incredible as always. Thanks for your time

From Ben Hedstrom

May 19, 1998 - As one of the "girls in the front of the line who'd been there for two days" I can honestly say that the Fillmore staff was completely just in their actions to order the crowd and went out of there way to accommodate everyone outside waiting for the show. When Tori arrived there were hundreds of people already there waiting for prime location in the Fillmore that, I would assume, would probably like to have shared a few seconds with her as well. The fact that there were so many people there when Tori arrived made this a much different experience than the normal outside "meet and greets" when there are only around 20-30 people, so you can't expect the same ease in crowd control. How you could say that you should be given priority over people who had waited since as far back as Sunday night for the Tuesday evening show is incredible to me. The Fillmore staff did the only fair thing in validating the numbered index cards we (the first five people in line) made Monday afternoon and allowing only the first few people to meet and speak with her. If anyone who wanted to was allowed to go and crowd around the door when she arrived there would have been a near riot. If you could think of a better way of handling this situation that doesn't necessarily put you at the front of the line because you "had a pretty important message for her" I'd love to hear it. Now I know I don't know what you had to say to Tori, and frankly it's none of my business, but to automatically assume that it's more urgent than anybody else's message is just selfish.

Also when you say you "can't blame her" for "only [staying] outside for about 5 minutes" because of "the way people were behaving" you are completely wrong. As one of the few people who spoke with her outside that day I can say that at the front of the railing everyone was very calm and polite, the only chaos was coming from the hoards of people pushing from behind. I won't speak for Tori but she seemed to be very appreciative and happy to meet as many of her fans that she could that had waited for so long to see her. Even after being whisked away by her guard (as always) she returned for a few seconds and continued waving to everyone there until she disappeared up the stairs of the Fillmore.

I realized ahead of time that there would be a lot of people there and took the proper steps (camping out, basically in addition to reading about other people's experiences on the Dent) to be able to speak with Tori and also be at the front of the show. This is because I personally cared about this show and wanted to make it the best experience I could, knowing I couldn't pass up the rare advantage of seeing someone so big at such a small place. As a result I received what I wanted and more. You can't just expect to be able to do what you did in the past as easily as you could before because things change (this is a reoccurring theme in a lot Tori's lyrics if you don't believe me). That's just one of the disadvantages of more people listening to her music. Of course there are advantages too. Within the new fans I'm sure some of them can relate to Tori's experience of rape and probably listen to her music to help them. You wouldn't want them not to be able to do that, would you? It seems pretty hypocritical to be promoting RAINN and Tori's music through websites and such without accepting the new fans.

I tend to think that I appreciate and understand music a little more than the average fan however sitting in line with all the other people there made me realize that we all like music for different reasons. Yeah, some of the newer fans may not have the same sort of love for Tori as you do but they are there for a reason. Larger venues just means a larger percentage of the world truly enjoying her music. Tori hasn't stopped producing great music or putting on good shows and she certainly hasn't forgotten her fans. The fact that she played 12 club dates for "people that will wait in lines" backs that statement.

Basically, Tori is going to be famous regardless of whether you buy a ticket for her shows or not. Her shows are sell-outs and if you don't buy one someone else will. All you can do is enjoy her art in the way you feel best, which may include having to adapt to an ever-changing situation, and keep in mind that she doesn't create for you, me, or anyone else but herself. You can't get all wrapped up in fighting natural transitions, because you'll be to busy to feel the magic that will continue to occur regardless of how many people enjoy something. Find new ways of enjoying her and be more than thankful when you are lucky enough to see her at a place like the Fillmore instead complaining that it wasn't good enough for you. Especially if you didn't even do the work necessary to fulfill your expectations.

From Alison Rosen

May 19, 1998 - I have read over the comments made by other ears with feet, and here's my take: I completely understand the need for tori to play larger venues. But it still saddens me deeply. I have never had the privilege of seeing tori in a small club--on the preview tour she came to an 18+ club around here...yes, I will be 18 in about 3 weeks! didn't make it in time :-( I have seen tori in one mid-sized venue, and one small/medium sized one, and I can definitely say that I could see a difference in her energy level (the smaller venue was much more energetic and exciting.) she seemed to connect more with the audience in the smaller venue. So I guess my concern is that tori will not be the same performance-wise with a huge, un-personal concert. I also know how expensive these places can be, and you still end up with crap seats. *sigh* I guess we'll see how tori does it. I can't help but be disappointed though.

From Kelly

May 19, 1998 - About the large venue thing. Yeah, I was upset by it too, but I've seen her 4 times before in smaller settings, so I didn't let it get to my head. Then, while I was listening to "Playboy Mommy" and watching the mascara run down my face, I realized that Tori probably isn't too nuts about the idea either, but that it IS a natural progression and she's been around long enough that most of us have gotten to see her the way we like her--up close and personal. She was WORN OUT after that last tour, and I'm convinced that her exhaustion is what caused that awful miscarriage. Playing lots of small venues in each state, just so that we could see her better and have that warm and wonderful atmosphere...I just think it's unfair of us to expect her or John or Arthur or anyone to jump to our every demand. It's like some people (not all of us, I'm well-aware) want her up in a little cage with her Bosey, and we want her to play all night. I love her, and would be on cloud nine if she could continue to play the small shows, but I support any decision that her team makes, and if that means having to bring opera glasses to the next show, then that's what it means. I'm sure she'd go on playing herself to death if she thought it was best, but we want a HEALTHY Tori, don't we? I've seen her play when she's worn out, and I just ached for her. Maybe this way she'll have more time for her marriage and other things that she wants to do. And as far as these crowds go, I hope that there's some way we can put the word out that backing Tori into a corner is NOT going to help get that intimate give and take thing going again. Maybe we could send a mass mailing to the people on the Dent Registery? I'm sure most of them respect her space, but if each of them tells someone and so on down the line, we might all have a better experience at the shows. Love you all...see you soon.

From Marcel Rijs

May 19, 1998 - I read Beth Winegarner's comments in yesterdays' Precious things digest with interest and have to say that I can agree on many things she's pointed out.

As always, there's two sides to the story. Of course it's humanly impossible to play more dates and to please more people Tori has to play bigger venues. But the intimacy that I feel is very important to Tori Amos shows is rapidly being affected by this.

I mean, here in the Netherlands Tori will only play 1 'normal' concert where she used to do 3 or 4 the last three tours, plus an appearance at the Pinkpop festival. Jesus, that is perhaps one of the biggest festivals Europe has to offer! And it's usually a messy, muddy affair because it's usually raining at this festival. No way in hell am I going to stand in a field in the middle of thousands of raving lunatics who only come there for one of the mediocre bands that can be found at festivals!

Perhaps it's cultural snobbery, but I cannot associate Tori with the rest of the music industry that is 'out there'. Perhaps they want to market Tori to a bigger audience, I don't know. Perhaps she should have a few albums that sell less. I think commercial success is not necessarily the best thing for her. Of course I am very happy for Tori that she is successful, but the price that fans-from-the-very-beginning have to pay is starting to be too high. What with the exclusive-downloadable-tracks-for-US-citizens-only and webcasts-for-people-with-high-quality-Internet-connections. Shit, it bugs me a hell of a lot.

From Chris

May 19, 1998 - Regarding the debate over Tori playing arena's versus the intimate club settings, I have two things to say:

First of all, her popularity is obviously growing. But even moreso, I seem to read time and time again about fans exhibiting embarrassingly bad behavior at Tori concerts because the clubs are so small and packed. How many times have I read about people pushing and shoving each other at her shows, getting into cat fights and other stupid behavior? Moving her shows into arenas only makes sense. What other alternative does she have?

For me, Tori's movement into arenas is significant in more ways than one. It is another symbol of how she is moving away from me with the release of her new album. I liked the intimate style of her songs along with those intimate settings in which she played. But her new album has a sound I don't like .. it lacks the intimacy of her other albums, for one thing. I actually didn't even buy it .. and now, ironically, she is also moving into the big arenas, which also symbolizes the lack of intimacy in her new sound. So it only makes sense to me that she is going the arena route.

I still really like Tori and I can't blame her for growing or for wanting to try something new. Good luck to her.

From Erin

May 19, 1998 - I've read some of the debates over the arena shows & I thought I'd voice my opinion:

Frankly, this whole arena show thing scares me. Some people say that they nearly cried when they heard about it, I did cry! I don't know if it was Atlantic's idea to have arena shows or hers, but I really think that they don't know what there doing. It seems like nothing matters anymore but the actual "music". It seems that the meaning, the spirit, & just the thought of the resolution through the songs has dissolved, like sugar in water. Before Tori wanted her concerts to be intimate, so that you could really feel what was going on. I'm saddened because despite my attempts, I never got to experience that. I may not have been an Ear with Feet for long, but I'm only about to turn 16, & the only music I knew for so long had no meaning to it. When I found Tori's music, I clung to it. During all of the hard times, it keeps me alive. It shows me that somehow, someway, there just might be hope for a brighter future. The fact that that whole sense of security is diminishing scares me.

As for the meet & greet thing before the shows, I think that she's starting to pull back away from the "fans". She may say that she loves to talk to us ,& I belive that she really does, but I think she's starting to get scared. I'm not going to blame her either. She's not treated like a human being anymore. Don't go crazy over her. Don't scream her name or trample over 50 people just to get a look at her. We all would hate that to be done to us, no matter how much we want the adoration. She needs to be left alone. With out that, the more she will pull away from the "fans". We need to treat her like we would a friend. Then maybe things will get better for both parties.

I also think that (& I might get squalked at for saying this) either Tori or Atlantic has gotten some idea that Tori will always be "Our Goddess". You don't know what the next minute will bring. When you are famous & you have the following that Toir does, things can be increadibly volatile. Tomorrow, we could all wake up & wonder what we ever saw in Tori Amos. Two weeks from now, the fact that she even exists could be forgotten. No one should count on always having a backing. After soeone won an Oscar & said "You like me, you really like me!" they lost there following. Tori & Atlantic should take that into deep consideration, because hey, times change & friends come & go. If it's happened to me, it can happen to anyone.

From Shirley Ye

May 19, 1998 - I think that one reason why she may be doing such big venues / arenas this time around is because she isn't going to be staying more than one night in any one city anymore. Hence, she wants to play to a maximum nnumber of people for the one night she will be in town. Lessens tour time, and still gets to play to all the people who want to see her.

Touring can be exhausting. Maybe she just wants to spend more time relaxing with her new husband, or just anything. She seemd really tired and distant at the SF club show I went to (of course, that could've been just food poisoning). I think Tori expressed at one point she wanted a family.

I think I'm rambling =)

From Terri

May 19, 1998 - I was extremely disappointed when I first heard about Tori playing arenas. I thought that the intimacy which we love about her shows would be completely jeapordized. But I think that we do have to look at it in a different light. Arenas are not going to be as intimate as a smaller venue, there's no way. It's going to be a different type of show, just like From the Choirgirl Hotel is an album drastically different from any of the previous ones. But it's still Tori and Steve the Sweet Fat Man makes an excellent point; we all know what she looks like, do we need to SEE her face? Are we attending shows to listen to the music or watch Tori?

But I also need to take this space to vent about something. I may sound like a musical purist, but I was really disappointed that Tori didn't have her Bosendorfer with her. I know, or rather I hope, that during the club tour it was because the stages were small and a nine foot imperial grand just won't fit in that space. But I hope that the Bosey accompanies with her on the tour. And I don't care what anyone says, I don't like the keyboard. : )

From Jason Sywak

May 19, 1998 - I think tori has reached a point in her career where, unfortunately, it is necessary that she perform at larger venues. When she came to philadelphia last time (for Boys for pele) she had to play the club four times so everyone could see her and even then mostly the same people camped out for tickets and saw her each time. The only way she can make it possible for all her fans to see her is if she plays large arenas. I am content with the fact that she played a small club show at philly's Electric Factory and I saw that. I slept out all night for the tickets and got to the venue very early for the show. Hardcore Tori fans realize this is what they must do, so we deal with it. I'm sure if she is touring for two years we will all get to see her, and that is what really counts.

From colette alexander

May 19, 1998 - When I first heard that Tori was playing the Palace of Auburn Hills (near Detroit) I have to admit, a tear came to my eye, and I exclaimed (so all my family members around the computer could hear) "awwwww shit!"

That being said, I'll tell you what I'm planning to do about this, and why.

First of all, I am going to try to get tickets to the show, second, they better be main floor or I'm gonna throw a hissy fit (last half of main floor and I'm going to be disspointed) and might even consider just going to meet and greet before the show, to say hi, and then leave.

Why? Well, I guess I'm not interested in seeing 'tori-the-dot' and I really feel, after seeing many arena shows (Melissa Etheridge, REM, for example) that if I can't see Tori, only her red hair in the lights, it won't be worth it. I might as well sit home and listen to the tape of the Chicago or Detroit club shows... since the set list, i'm assuming will be more constant than Dew Drop Inn because of the limitations of the band (this is an assumption, I could very well be wrong).

So, if I'm so against this, why am I okay with it for everyone else that wants to go (and why am I considering buying bad tickets anyways)? Simply put, I think this arena tour is part of a plan, and I think the club tour began it: Tori was saying to her large, long-time fan base "you guys are incredible, thank you" and with the arenas she's saying "I've been recording and touring straight for the past 8 or 9 years, this is for my new fan base, and it's so I can have some free time afterwards with a nice cash cushion to rest on"

Also, when questioning her motives, besides looking at how many dates she'd have to play if she were doing smaller venues, I realized how much she had been looking forward to taking a break after Dew Drop Inn... and I sincerely believe this is her way of having a productive and profitable tour, and then taking some time off (to be with her husband, maybe to try to have another kid....whatever she wants to do really, she deserves it). Remember, Tori's not Madonna, she doesn't have hundreds of millions of dollars laying around to chill out for a year... she has debts to the record company, she has shoes to buy :), and she might have family to take care of after this.

So there it is, my opinion, take it or leave it, it's pretty much just musings over the past two weeks as I get ready to participate in a Tori arena show. And I guess no one knows how it'll really be until they experience it. Kind of like Tori with the band, it may not be as bad (and actually could be good) as I or anyone else expects.

From Roze Dotson

May 19, 1998 - I will be the first one to admit that this whole arena thing scares me. In fact the first time I told someone that Tori was my favorite musician and they knew who I was talking about scared me. But the fact is she is going to play in arena's this tour, and she will probably continue to rise as a big star. She is not going to get less popular, and although it bothers me to hear people say "I love Tori Amos's two albums"(BFP, FTCH) Or when they look in confusion at the mention of RAINN, but I know that not much is going to change.

I think that instead of bitching about the arena's and how some of us would rather not go I think we should be more concerned with finding a way to let the crowd know that a Tori concert is not a rock n roll concert to scream and shout the whole time. And that screaming "Father Lucifer!" in the middle of one of her stories -stories that we all cherish- is not funny nor appreciated.

I do wish we had our Tori that we could call our own back. I still kind of wish that when I said Tori Amos I still got those blank stares, but for obvious reasons she has become very popular. And she deserves it. There's nothing we can do to stop the arena shows but I think we should concentrate on shutting up those people who find it absolutely neccessary to remind her of her name in the middle of her songs.

Although I am a little apprehensive about this tour I still can't wait. Because no matter what it is still Tori, and just being in the same room with her gives me chills.

From Kim

May 19, 1998 - it was interesting to read the different viewpoints on Tori's growing popularity, and i have my two cents to throw in... i hope i don't sound too selfish because i'm normally not very opinionated but this is my honest opinion...

i am a fairly new fan of Tori; i discovered her right after the release of Boys For Pele when i listened to Little Earthquakes for the first time. i was excited that someone had shared her with me because i immediately fell in love with her. before then i had never heard of her and it was almost like she was my secret friend who shared the same L.E. diary with me. i felt extremely close with her and still do, but this whole commercialization/popularization thing is just too much.

i was disappointed when i heard that Tori would be playing with a band, but that soon disappeared when i first heard Spark on the radio. i was overjoyed to hear new Tori material, but then i heard it on the radio again...and again...and again... and it was irritating. not the song, because it's amazing, but the fact that they were totally overplaying Tori. IMHO Tori is someone that not just anyone should be able to listen to, generally speaking. i think that people who truly understand her and her music and who have the fullest respect for her deserve to experience her gift. there are the types of people Tori describes in Precious Things and Cornflake Girl that i know who actually listen to Tori. i hate it. maybe it's selfish, but i honestly hate it. several times every day i hear something about Tori on the radio and it depresses me because people have such easy access to her music now.

case in point: the upcoming arena tour. i went to the sneak preview show in philly and it was incredibly spiritual and moving for me. i had my autographs stolen from me, which i still get pissed about if i think about it too much, however it's not as important as i thought because Tori has given me so much more than what a signature is worth. but anyway, it kills me to think that more "fans" like the one who stole it will be able to go to her huge arena concerts. it also bothers me that someone can nonchalantly say, "oh, that Tori... what's her name? is playing at the spectrum... let's go, maybe it'll be fun..."

my point is that Tori is too special to be getting as commercialized as she is. she should be shared among those who truly understand and respect her and what she is about. when i'm 80 years old i'm still going to be listening to Tori... it really bothers me that a month from now, certain people underserving of her music that briefly liked her will forget all about her...

email me at:

From Robert Maril

May 19, 1998 - I'm sure you get thousands of emails daily, so I'll keep this short after thanking you for such a great site.

It's odd to me to hear all of these people ranting about Tori's arena schedule. As a Tori fan since Boys for Pele (I've since then acquired 15+ of her releases), I missed the Dewdrop Inn Tour (I was only 16 and not allowed to go) and this arena tour may be my only chance to see Tori. Of course, as I will probably weep through the entire show (I don't know...Tori does it to me), an arena won't be the same experience.

However, plans haven't even been made for a show down here in Oklahoma, or in Indiana where I plan to go to college. For those of us here in the backwoods, where it's harder to get a Tori rarity than it is to find crack, and where Plugged '98 didn't even consider approaching, we may never get to see Tori up-close.

In short, I'd appreciate any show of Tori Amos live. Whether or not I get to meet her (I'd probably pass out anyway), I'd just like to see her perform. If it's in an arena the size of Madison Square, so be it.

From Karen

May 19, 1998 - I just wanted to comment on a few things concerning Tor's growing popularilty. First off it really dosn't bother me that Tori is playing Arenas because it's better for Tori. You know how burnt out she must be after playing so many shows? Also don't have to worry that much on not having a seat. All her shows usually sell out quick and you get scared you might now have a seat. I purchased tickets to see her at Madison Square Garden and I don't care how big the placd is i'm soo happy i'm gonna be able to see Tori again. yes it kinda sucks that the intimacy is lost and with the growing number of fans she has had to expand. I will no matter what "boycott" Tori.

I was fortante to see Her first plugged show and boy was it amazing! I was up in the front so i had an awesome view. What bothered me was how mant people were waiting for her to arrive. There were like 300 people waiting for her! I was very very lucky to meet this wonderful woman but it was over so quickly she couldn't talk to no one hardly everyone was yelling. Thats what i don't like that now she won't be able to chat as much as she did before.

Besides that stuff everything is ok..seeing tori live is magical and i wouldn't stop going to her shows just because she is playing bigger venues.

From Anastasia DeBeck

May 19, 1998 - Also, on the arena controversy: I don't believe that Tori is selling out or any of the other abrasive terms for it that people have been spouting. She is the only artist of her stature that has ever given her fans an experience like the club tour--We weren't the only ones that went through hell to get there, I'm sure. For all of you worried about getting crappy seats: If you are a true Tori fan, and you waited for hours in line for the club tour, than most likely, you'll do the same for the big tour and end up with pretty decent seats. If you sit on your ass because it's a huge venue and you figure there's no rush, then you'll lose out. Plain and simple. Have it your way, I say.

From MetroJoe

May 12, 1998 - I'll be the first to admit that it bothered me a huge deal. It really did. The thought of Tori playing all these places really troubled me. But then I thought to myself, the theatre I saw Tori at last time (PNC Arts Center in NJ) didn't seem all that big. It seemed rather small actually. But then I read in a recent article they were expanding the capacity from nearly 9,000 to nearly 10,800 (which includes actual seats and lawn seating) or something like that.

Wait a second! 9,000 people at the August 26 show? It couldnt be. But, it was. And it didn't seem that bad.

A few days ago I purchased my Madison Square Garden arena tickets. I was very nervous about the whole arena thing, but then I said "Who cares? I'm still going to see Tori." And that's how I felt every since. And now, I have more comfort: I read a recent article in the New York Post (NOTE TO MIKEWHY: which i sent to you about Scalpers) and it revolved around scalpers and things like that at MSG.

There were several references to the Tori concert. And one of the things mentioned was that there were 12,800 tickets available and it nearly sold out. So, I'm no rocket scientist but MSG holds about 18,000 people and Tori was smart enough to realize, in all honesty, she cannot sell out 18,000 seats. Well maybe she could over the course of months, but not right away like the club tours' scant 1,000 tickets which went in literally a few minutes.

So what is this idiot trying to say, you might be wondering? Well, what I'm saying is, Tori is playing these big arenas, but I strongly doubt she's making every seat available in these arenas. And 12,800 isn't a far cry from some of the places she played on the Dew Drop Inn tour (again the PNC Arts Center's 9,000 for example).

As far as I am now concerned, this is just a plus for Tori. Instead of being so displeased that we won't be seeing Tori in smaller, intimate settings, we should be happy that Tori is having the honor of playing these major venues.

One more thing I'd like to add is that I'm sure Tori was extremely exhausted on the last tour. She did nearly 200 shows and she played many many theatres. Maybe she doesn't want to go through so much physical stress by playing all these venues. Maybe she wants the bigger venues for reasons we won't understand and reasons we will, but whatever her reasons we have to trust her instincts.

And citing "from the choirgirl hotel" as a reference (as well as the club tour), everyone was upset and groaning about Tori and a band (including myself). But now that we've heard the record and some have seen Tori in action with her band, everyone is on cloud nine, highly enjoying themselves and loving the new material. Maybe the same will go for these arena shows. Maybe Tori will have so much fun headlining such big venues that she will give some of her best performances ever. Bottom Line: If Tori wants to do arenas, let's just respect that. I mean, for the most part, was anyone really complaining when she was doing those tiny cupboards--I mean clubs? ;-)

From Gayle Luchini

May 12, 1998 - I learned my lesson about crying over not having good seats. Basically I missed out on the LE and UTP tours because I didn't have a way of finding out about where she was at (wasn't on the net at the time) By the time BFP rolled around, I was very excited thinking I'm going to be one of the first ones and I'm going to get great seats, well I was checking the wrong place for tickets, and when I finally wised up and called the right place they told me, "oh they went on sale yesterday"--I almost died. They still had balcondy seats, but I had been to this place before, and I knew what that meant, she'd be a small red-headed moving object and not too much more (granted the venues that they are planning now may be larger, but still she was very small) Needless to say I cried and griped, but what I learned was this, I got to see her, and it was a magical experience for me and that was what was important, just seeing her live. I recently went to the Seattle pre-tour and I got to sit second row center, right in front of Tori! It was so wonderful and I had such a good time and met some nice people. I had to fly from New Mexico to do this, but I had the chance and I took it because I knew there weren't going to be many (or any) more chances like this again. I don't think it is fair (to her personally or to her health--and we all want a healthy Tori) that she should have to do double concerts to accommodate her growing EWFs in smaller venues, so it boils down to this (I think) either she stays in the mid size venues and many of us won't be able to see her at all, or she goes to larger venues (which I think can still be magical because she has so much energy and gives so much to the audience) and we take binoculars and we do get to see her (at least somewhat). I take seeing her somewhat to not seeing her at all myself. I still hope to meet her someday, but I'm not an EWF just to meet her or to get her autograph etc., she gives so much anyway. Thanks.

From Gina

May 12, 1998 - The idea that anyone would want to boycott Tori for playing in an arena is absurd. Tori is amazingly talented, as us ears with feet know. When Tori tours this summer, I want to see her, and you want to see her. We all do. Tori is playing at much larger venues to accomodate her large number of fans.

Tori has not and will never forget who her true fans are. That is why she had the smaller club tour. She also needs to make sure that everyone who wants to hear her music and messages has a chance. As a loyal toriphile, I want Tori to succeed, and I trust her decisions. She knows what is best for her, and if it is playing arenas, I will support her decision. I got to see her in the intimate setting of the club tour, but now it is time for other people to recieve that chance too.

From Janet

May 12, 1998 - I'm feeling rather dissuaded from even purchasing tickets to this upcoming Plugged Tour with its purported large arenas---and mainly because I'm appalled by something I've been learning from the recent concert reviews. I'm sure Tori still puts on a knock-out performance, but what really disturbs me is the seemingly degenerative behavior of the audiences. Consistently, I read about overenthusiastic fans disrupting the intimacy of her perfomances. In my experience, the intimacy of Tori's shows are what make her concerts special, and like no other I've ever attended.

The last show I attended was one of the Boys For Pele tour dates in Sacramento, CA, in July 1996. The venue had a capacity of about 3,000 people, and it became clear to me that the rather disappointing change of atmosphere was not due to the size of the audience, the concert hall capacity, or poor building acoustics. The shift was directly proportional to the energy and behavior of the audience. And now I'm wondering, why is that...?

In my mind, a more provocative debate resides in the question of why more fans are demonstrating whacked-out behavior at her shows. It saddens me greatly that she would even have to be concerned about her physical safety or that of her fans. Such is the realm of a public figure, I guess...fame seems to bring the potential of insanity along with it. She is a wonderful woman with a great heart, granted, and her talent only improves with each work she creates---but I think she deserves the respect and breathing space to show off her scintillating musical landscapes!

I'd hoped that the smaller venues would elicit that intimacy again. I missed getting tickets to the Fillmore show in San Francisco, but from what I read on The Dent's webpage review from fans, there was that same loose-cannon feeling in the hall. Clearly gone are the days when you could hear a pin drop when Tori played, when you could appreciate the emotional impact of her lyrics without the disruptive assault of some fanatic rudely yelling, "Tori!!!" or worse.

I had the good fortune to attend my first Tori concert at Bimbo's 365 Club in San Francisco, back in May 1992, when Little Earthquakes had been recently released. (It was when her tickets went for $12.00---can you believe that???) Nobody knew what to expect from the little red-haired vixen who dressed bizarrely, and she scared the shit out of us after one member of the audience called out, "Play Angie!!!" as she blithely and nonchalantly strode onto the stage. She then leaned forward into the mike and barked loudly "Oh, piss off!!!" We laughed, albeit nervously, and were the best little audience in the world. We were all blown away, and you really could hear a pin drop in there.

All I can say is, thank God she keeps putting out consistently fantastic works. I'll continue to enjoy my intimate Tori experiences in my own home.

Thanks for listening to my two cents...

From Jenny R Hayes

May 13, 1998 - reply to Beth... No I did not go to the SF show...I tried believe me. But I wanted to reply to Dor's comments about the SF performance and upcoming performances (from The Dent). I first saw Tori in SF at the Palace of Fine Arts in (I think) 1991. It was the most amazing performance I have ever seen. She was so nervous, but funny and full of stories, fresh stories. I was mesmerized. This is a VERY small place mind you. I stole the original Tori with onions poster from the wall and at the merch table they were handing out flyers telling us to request Tori at our local radio stations (isn't that weird when you think about it now). This was right after the release of Little Earthquakes. I fell in love. Over the years I have of course continued to follow Tori and watched her increase in popularity. I went to see her a couple years later in SF again and sat in the front row, we brought her flowers. She was so glossy and sweet and I still felt the most intense connection. She smiled and was so personable. So this was a follow up to the original tour (after Little Earthquakes took off). I still felt the passion and intensity. It was a very small show, very gracious audience, she told some funny stories again. I was still taken. So a the next time she came aournd, she played a big place in SF (I can remember the name of the place right now) but it was for Under the Pink. This place is huge and has a balcony as well. We got good seats. I had a pretty good view (no front row this time). This is when I started to lose the connection. People were screaming during the music and when she was speaking. I, like Dor, remember the minute Tori spoke or began to play there was stillness in the audience. It was so calming. Now there is the most intense lack of respect (audience throwing lipgloss at Tori). I cried, literally cried that night. I was so disappointed. She only played the hits and one or two of my favorites. It was almost generic. The next time she came around I did not even bother to get tickets (for the Boys tour). I knew it would be such a production. People told me it was good, but never the same. This time around I really wanted to get tix for the Fillmore, because it is such a small venue, I did not pay $250 for scalped tix! I am not sure If I am going to get tix for the stadium shows or not.

Ok so I know when artists get popular, this inevitably happens. I saw Sarah in the beginning too and I am going to Lillith Fair. But it is different. I have been to soooo many concerts in my 24 years, but I never felt such an intensity about any musician. Tori has this wonder about her. I compare to Indian food: Curry Chicken is always spicey and hot but you have Raita (cucumber and yougurt) to cool it off. I have always felt this hot and cool passion about Tori and her passion. It draws me in. I don't want to hear people screaming at her in the silence, talking during the songs. I come to hear Tori, of course seeing her in person is great too, but I could just close my eyes and hear the music (last time mostly I heard cat calls and Tori telling people to be quiet because she was "trying to sing"). This is not a bitch session, but to me a sort of sad reality about the connection I think has disppeared between Tori and many fans (I am speaking of me and my friends). I am happy that she has become so popular, because her music is so amazing, but I want people to understand that screaming and yelling and all that loudness and almost obsession, not only annoys Tori but the rest of the audience as well. The more it happens the less Tori is willing to participate with the audience and fans during and after the show.

I still love Tori's music, I am listening to Choirgirl as I write this (I have replayed Jackie's Strength about 10 times now). But I am just glad that I got to see Tori in the beginning and that I still have those memories (her hair was not quite as fire red in those days, it looked almost brown when I first saw her). Her music still haunts me. Mother is my all time favorite song (god I miss those days).

From Beth Coulter

May 13, 1998 - I've read the posts regarding popularity and arenas and thought I would throw in my $.02 worth. The nearest show to me is the Philly Spectrum show, with a total capacity of 18,000. I was most anxious about seats in such a large venue, considering my first two concerts I was in the back of the hall (ok for the tower, nasty nosebleed at MSG for RAINN). But luck was with me and I was able to secure floor seats, row 16. With those seats I will be quite happy with an arena show, I think. If I were on a higher level in the back, I'm sure I would be complaining big time about lousy arenas. I'm still not thrilled with the idea of that large of a crowd, but am willing to deal with it.

My biggest doubts lie in the "new fans", the people just recently attracted to choirgirl and the Tori Amos Mythology. It's not that I'm an elitist, or a better fan. It's just that this is a different Tori; yes, we will be expected to "shimmy once and do it again" to some of the new girls. I fear that some of the younger, newer fans will misinterpret the message of Tori and make it an experience like beatlemania. The club show was not too bad as far as people screaming during the songs, but I see a potential for chaos. The Summer of '98 I feel will be *the* summer to see Tori, she will be the flavor of the season, The thing to do. That means a lot of folks who have no idea what Tori is about and are just there to feel part of this whole mystical trip.

I understand why Tori is playing this route. Atlantic needs her to hit as hard as Jewel and Sarah in the publics eye. Tori needs the airplay and the sold-out arenas to guarentee her continued support by AtRecs. Regardless how any EwF feels about Tori's current and future popularity, we still need to support her and let her know we are still here and will be there for her in the years to come. We need to show through our support that we want her to succeed and are willing to pay the (hopefully) temporary price to have her future in music secured. That's how we win with our devotion. We show unconditional support and understand all change is necessary and for the good. and that's all from this soapbox. ;)

Go Back To Extras

Go Back To ToriNews

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