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Lottapianos Tour: The set list and comments for Tori's August 22nd concert in Holmdel, NJ

Updated Sat, Aug 23, 2003 - 2:59am ET

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You can now see the set list and reviews for Tori's birthday concert in Holmdel, NJ. The show included Sugar, In The Springtime Of His Voodoo, Baker Baker (solo), On Saturday Afternoons in 1963 (solo), Jackie's Strength (solo), Mary and Landslide (solo). If you were at this show and want to send The Dent a review, please email Mikewhy at with your comments. It would be nice to get as many different viewpoints about the show as possible!

More Details

Tori performed in Holmdel, NJ on Friday, August 22, 2003 at the PNC Bank Arts Center. Tori's special guest was Ben Folds and the show started at 7:00PM.

Set List

Special thanks to Matt Page for calling me with the set list after the show!

Wampum Prayer
a sorta fairytale
In The Springtime Of His Voodoo
Bells For Her
Cornflake Girl

Band Leaves

Baker Baker
On Saturday Afternoons in 1963
Jackie's Strength

Band returns

Your Cloud
Professional Widow
Sweet Sangria
Take To The Sky
I Can't See New York
Precious Things

1st Encore

Amber Waves

2nd Encore

Landslide (solo)
Tear In Your Hand
Past The Mission


The latest reviews are at the bottom of this page, and I am adding reviews all the time. If you were at this show and want to send The Dent a review, please email Mikewhy at with your review or comments.

You can also go to the Concert Reviews Forum and post about your experiences as well.

From Matt Page:

This was really a fun and incredible night, which was also Tori's 40th birthday. Tori was so into it tonight. Her version of Professional Widow was amazing.

Tori performed a little improv before God that sounded a little like the one she did a few days earlier in Columbus, OH, where she sings something like, "Mid-life crisis... bring it on...I don't feel so cute... bring it on honey..."

At the start of the first encore, her crew wheeled out a cake for Tori's birthday. Ben Folds came out on stage and sat at Tori's piano and sang, "So they say its your birthday" and led the entire audience to sing Happy Birthday to Tori. It was really a magical moment, and Tori looked very happy and giddy. Her entire crew was on stage and Allie was there taking a ton of photos (Hopefully we will see at least some of them posted to in the future...)

Tori followed her written set list closely, but instead of performing Talula to begin the first encore, she did Tombigbee instead.

From patty:

it really was a magical night as matt page said. at first i was a little disappointed by the turnout, perhaps due to the predicted thunderstorms that never showed up. it turned out to be in people's favor anyway, as they traded in lawn tickets for house seats to fill space up. tori definitely made up for it by performing one of her best concerts ever. she wore a flowing garb that was blue on one side with white dots and red on the other also with white dots. from a far it resembled the american flag. for her first improv, the "bring it on" song, it sounded to me like it was about her and her husband talking in bed that morning. something about her feeling old, and it being too early then him saying "i don't care.. bring it on", interesting. i assume the little song at the beginning of the roadside cafe was an improv too. it mentioned her going back in time to when "tash was just a twinkle", beautiful. one of my favorite parts was during the song landslide she slowed down at the part "and i'm growing older too" and she gave the audience a sly smile, to which we applauded her. truely a great night.

From ted kupper:

just got back from a very special tori show. having her big 4-0 celebrated onstage with candles in three cakes was a memory i'll share with tori at the next meet and greet i see her at. singing "birthday" by the beatles and then "happy birthday" to tori were great fun too.

have seen her many times since dewdrop inn tour starting in '96 and this show was another excellent outing. landslide, baker baker, past the mission all very special. tori was playing out of this world as usual but her eyes had a special possessed look burning.

my girl was lights out tonite and looked beautiful as always. can't wait until tweeter center on tuesday.

From Raven Rogers:

I was at the show tonight and It was so cool to see Tori in such a good mood. She smiled alot and had great eye-contact with the crowd. She was really into the songs tonight and everybody got up to dance to 'Take to the sky' . She was very emotional when she sang Baker, Baker and Landslide. I knew she'd play sugar and she did. Tori was wearing a poka- dot dress on her birthday and strappy red shoes.

Her crew bought out 2 cakes and Joel walked her out and she was all giddy and 2 all over again! She blew out her candles on one cake and the half of the other cake and just before she blew out the rest of the candles on the 2nd cake Tori said "this is for you",pointing out to the crowd. The balloons were so cute and the highlight was when Beautiful Ben Folds(I love him!) came out and played on Tori's piano and sang the Beatles "they say it's your birthday" ...and seeing all her peeps there and her tour manager Johnny with the rest gave me the chills,I was so happy for Tori. "and I'm getting older too"... great night, great friends, splended! see you tomorrow Tori! (sorry, it's 4 in the morning)

From Spark:

Tori was really on during this show. The Amount of energy she had from the moment she walked onto the set until the final bows kept every one in the Center completely mesmorized. She played so many great songs. Springtime was an amazing surpise as was Professional Widow. The best crowd reaction and most energetic song she played was Take to the sky. Many MANY people got up and started dancing around during the improv of this song. Baker Baker brought me to tears and if anyone has the lyrics to the little improv she did before it. I'd really appreciate them. I'm still a little shocked i got to see Tori again. so this isn't that good a review. But this is by the far the best tori show i've seen yet.

From Maria:

Tori is amazing ... The concert she put on was glorious ..I love to see her sing. Every time I see her she always manages to amaze me. Tori has a sparkle in her eyes that is so bright ... she was born to be among stars.

Happy Birthday Tori ... Your more beautiful than ever!

From Dana Horn:

Magic was everywhere at this enormous birthday party/concert. From my front row seat, I could see Tori beaming and truly enjoying herself on what she knew was her day. There was a sparkle in her eyes and she really seemed to be shining. This was the first show I'd seen since Scarlet's Walk and in my opinion, one of the best ever. The past seemed to play a big part in the show, as most of her improvs were retrospective... looking back through the years, remembering how she and Beenie would talk about having babies... back when Tash was nothing more than a glimmer in her eye.

Speaking of Tash, I could see her grooving offstage while Ben Folds was playing. She was laying with her head in her nanny's lap and kicking her legs to the music. She looked like a princess in a flowy pink and white dress.

The energy throughout the whole show was amazing. I was thrilled to hear Rattlesnakes, Bells for Her, Past the Mission, Mary and Tombigbee. Baker, Baker really came alive for me. Sometimes you can hear a song a thousand times and then suddenly it hits you in a way that suddenly feels different... when she sang, "he says that behind my eyes i'm hiding, and he tells me i pushed him away, that my heart's been hard to find," it really hit me and made me wonder if maybe that might be a little true.

Being there for Tori's birthday was really amazing. Having the chance to share in her special day is something I'm not likely to forget.

From IVAN:

I come from yugoslavia, europe. I am a big fan of tori amos and last night was the first time i saw her performing live. Her birthday show in holmdel, nj was simply mesmerizing. The concert lasted for 135 minutes and, although she wasn't particularly chatty, she sung and performed with so much passion and zest. She proved just how amazing of a live performer she truly is. Some of the best moments of the concert were "baker baker", "take to the sky", "precious things", "landslide" and "tear in your hand". But the most amazing moment of the night was her 40th birthday celebration - tori blowing up the candles and the audience singing "happy birthday" to her. She was obviously touched by the moment and she kept pointing to her heart. It was very special and something that none of us will ever forget. Congratulations to tori for her birthday and for a beautiful night. Lots of love for all the tori amos fans out there!!!

From Andrew:

What I remember about the improv before God: It was about how now it was her time, mid-life, bring it on....Tori waking up and husband saying happy birthday and Tori not feeling very cute this morning....he said bring it on, she said isn't it too early, and he said no it isn't, bring it on home.

If I'm not mistaken, the song was to the melody of Led Zeppelin's "Bring It On Home"

From Peg Leg Bates:

My friend Karen and I have seen Tori about 50 times between us, and we think we have a decent feel for when she's "on" and when she's going through the motions. Last night, we thought Tori was all over the place, and not always was this for the better. Tori is playing things pretty close to the vest these days, and it would be nice to see a little more variety in the set lists. There are many EWF's who see several shows per tour, and I think our show experiences would be enhanced a bit if Tori canned some of the "standards" for a while.

Songs like "Wednesday," "Baker Baker," and "Sweet Sangria" were, IMO, played without much spirit. These versions sounded almost identical to the other times I've heard them, and seemed to lack a the kind of spark that sets Tori apart from most other live performers I have seen. That said, "Voodoo," "Mary," and "Widow" were flat-out brilliant and highlighted Tori at her best. Those three songs alone were worth the cost of admission.

Would anyone be terribly disappointed if she replaced "Cornflake" with "Juarez" or "Yes, Anastasia?" We'd love to hear "Cooling" and "Purple People" more, and "Tear In Your Hand" less, and the people talked with after the show seemed to concur.

I love Tori, and even a less-than-stellar Tori show is much better than most things I could do on a given Friday night, but I miss that freshness that was evident almost every night only a couple of years ago. You can bet your last dollar that I'll keep going to see her and I'll keep loving the shows, but I think we'd all freak just a little bit more if Tori took a few more chances. EWF's are very forgiving and if something does not work, we will not hold it against her. On the contrary, we'll love her for exploring new areas and giving us the privilege of coming along for the ride.

From Lorraine Eakin:

Tori picked a muggy day to turn 40! But despite the hazy, humid weather, the concert was wonderful. I arrived too late to catch most ofBen Folds' act (due to the fact that the PNC Arts Center parking lot is located in EGYPT). But what I saw was excellent; his antics and jokes area great contrast to Tori, I think, which makes for a more varied experience. He's very clever and an amazing player. Onto Tori. Tori was wearing a kind of, um, clown-like outfit (she's not a clown, but that's the best wayI can describe it). It was the usual flowy-dress thing, with red, blue, and green pieces, all polka-dotted. Big polka dots. But she can make anything beautiful.

Anyway, I like A Sorta Fairytale, but it usually sounds the same, so its performance doesn't set the tone for the rest of the show the way Precious Things did on the Plugged Tour; you have to wait til the second or third song before you get the "vibe." That said, Sugar and Springtime were both good indicators for the kind of show we were getting. Her expressions during Sugar were so powerful, she really threw herself into the performance. This is the first time on this leg of thetour I've seen her, and the screens in the amphitheatres really help you see her subtle (and not-so-subtle) facial expressions while she's performing. During Springtime she was sexy and slightly possessed at the same time. The band really kicked that one out!

It was after Springtimethat she and the band performed her "mid-life" improv. I can't remember the words, but something like "husband woke me up to say 'happy day' andI said 'I don't know,I don't feel so cute' and he says 'Girl, bring it on, honey'/I said 'it's early' and he says, 'Not so early, honey, bring it on!" A very insinuating and very sexy improv! She then introduced the band and launched into God. God was very good as well, a standard at this point though. I was much more excited about Bells for Her, which I've never seen; it's so haunting and beautiful on the Bosey; the mood is so similar to the album version, even though the instrumentation is completely different. Really moving. Rattlesnakes had an interesting light design -- projected onto Tori from the side was a slowly moving propellor over the lights that shaded half her face in shadow, to an eerie effect. Rattlesnakes sounded slower and sadder tonight than in Austin - very beautiful.

And speaking of moving and beautiful, that is the only way to describe Roadside Cafe. As the guys left shesaid quietly, "Thanks guys, for coming tonight." She seemed really happy to be there with her fans to celebrate her birthday. Her improv before Baker Baker was beautiful and slow; she said something like "I go back in time/back in my mind/to Beanie/we talk about our children/as time moves on". Something like that, very appropriate for her birthday. Baker was slower and quieter than the last time I saw it; she seemed to take her time with it. On Saturday Afternoons in 1963 was one I never expected to see, and again, the words seemed really appropriate for that day. She played a really striking, kind of stark-sounding intro to it that was really interesting. Jackie's Strength seemed like the perfect way to round out the solo set, talking about getting older, getting married and learning how to live and age gracefully. The band returned for Your Cloud, which is beautiful; I love hearing her sing the two chorus parts separately that are interwoven on the album.

And then, after lulling us into a quiet mood, she pulls out Professional Widow. Wow! I see why everyone was talking about it; it's MONSTROUS. If I were another Tori song I would be afraid of it. I was exhausted just sitting there watching them perform it. Definitely a highlight!

This was the first time I heard Take to the Sky with the "I Feel the Earth Move" addition. The moment she started it, the first ten rows or so jumped to their feet and started dancing! Lots of fun. Precious Things rocked, of course; although I'd rather have it in the middle of the show and end with Spring Haze - I still think Spring Haze complimented ICSNY the best. But who can complain about hearing Precious Things every night?

At the beginning of the first encore the crew brought out a cake and Ben Folds played "Birthday" by the Beatles with Matt and Jon. Then we all sang Happy Birthday to Tori and it was a really great moment - I'm so glad I was there for it!

Next was Tombigbee, my first time seeing it. Really good, but not my pick over Talula! Oh well. Amber Waves I've seen a lot, but it's still pretty.

When she came out solo for the second encore I expected Landslide - and I was right. As much as I didn't really want to hear another cover (my feeling is, I come to hear Tori's music, not other people's), the words were sooooo appropriate and I guess since it's her birthday she can play whatever she wants ;-). For what it's worth, it was the prettiest version I'd heard her do. Tear in Your Hand was good, the audience around me really responded to it. Past the Mission is always wonderful and I never get tired of hearing it. The band adds so much and they all interact so well. Yay! It was wonderful to share that with Tori and the Toriphile community, it was worth having to drive through New Jersey to see it :-).

From Tom:

Here is my review for The Dent of Tori's 8/22/03 performance at the Arts Center in Holmdel, NJ. We had 6th row seats slightly to the left of Tori, so we had a good look at her profile most of the night and when she turned to play the Rhodes or wurly, we could see her full face. It was great to be close enough to see all her facial expressions for a change.

The opener was Ben Folds and he was just awesome. I will start acquiring some of his music. He has a lot of energy and writes both funny and poignant songs. His whole uber-geek image also appealed to me.

Of course, Tori started the show with Wampum Prayer sung from off-stage. No one seems to have mentioned the set for the show has changed on this leg of the tour. The desert scene in the background is gone, replaced by a big black and white drawing of a medicine wheel. The wheel appears to be made of stones in the drawing. At each corner of the screen, is a totem. I could only see three clearly from where I was sitting. In the upper right is an eagle or maybe a thunderbird, in the lower left is a leaf (it looked like birch to me, but it was a little abstract), and in the upper left is something I couldn't make out. Sometimes I thought it was the head of a bird and sometimes I thought it was a fish.

After Wampum, the band come out and starts to play. Tori soon follows. She was wearing a polka dotted, flowing top over worn jeans that came down just past her knees. Her hair looked less red than previous times I've seen her. Maybe she is no longer dying it. She looked radiant. She smiled through the whole show, most noticeably during Rattlesnakes and Tear in Your Hand.

The lighting for the night was dominated by blues, greens, and whites, but otherwise wasn't much different from previous shows I've seen. My cousin and I thought that several of the songs started off sounding like "Cruel" but she didn't play that. There was just something about the bass that reminded us of that song. It was most noticeable on "God."

A Sorta Fairytale: beautiful as always and had me teary-eyed. In other shows, when she sang "I ride along side..." the lights on the side swept the audience like car headlights, but they didn't tonight. I missed that, as I thought it added a nice touch to the song. Oh well.

Sugar: Not too different from the "Venus" version, but always nice to hear. She puts her hand over her heart when she sings "you've got a little in here."

In the Springtime of His Voodoo: Tori put a lot of energy into this and flipped back and forth from piano to Rhodes quickly.

Tori then says hello and the audience starts yelling "Happy Birthday." She was smiling and looked like she was rather moved. She then launched into the "Midlife Improv". Some lines were "here it is...midlife..bring it on" and something like "said to hubby I don't feel so cute/and says baby, bring it on" at which point she grabbed her crotch. It was a fun little jazz number that made us all smile. I think after this is when she introduced the band, but I'm not positive.

God: nicely done, as always.

Cornflake Girl: Awesome. Tori does amazing piano-playing on this. I think the piano jam at the end was longer than usual, but I could be wrong.

Bell for Her: First time I got this live. It was essentially just like the "Venus" version but still powerful.

Rattlesnakes: Started out with Matt shaking a rattle of some kind and then the bass kicked in. Tori was lit with white from below and blue from above so she looked very dramatic and witchy. She's still using the shadows of propellers for this song as she did during the Strange Little Tour. It was slowed down a little from the studio version.

Wednesday: On this song, the stage was mostly lit in orange and yellow. The leaf girl appeared on the backdrop. Lots of fun.

The band leaves, the medicine wheel moves off to the side and the Roadside Cafe sign comes down. Tori sings something about this being an old girl, an old friend, or something like that.

Baker Baker: pretty and sung beautifully.

On Saturday Afternoons in 1963: This is a Rickie Lee Jones song I'd never heard before. It was pretty and Tori sung it with lots of emotion and smiles. It makes sense she would sing it, as 1963 was the year she was born.

Jackie's Strength: Tori sang her heart out on this. Gorgeous. Too bad this was the only "Choirgirl" song of the night.

Band returns and the sign goes away, but the medicine wheel does not return.

Your Cloud: Well, I must admit this is my least favorite song from "Scarlet," and I'd seen her do it at two other shows, so I used it as a much needed bathroom break.

Professional Widow: While not a fave, this rocked. Tori was so into it and the Jon and Matt just thundered. At the end, Tori grabbed the mike and bobbed her head (looking like you know what) while she hyperventilated.

Mary: I was very happy to finally hear this live. Tori's vocals were excellent. I remember there being a lot of yellow lights for this one.

Sweet Sangria: not significantly different from previous shows. Lots of red and yellow lights.

Take to the Sky: Still using the blue and green kaleidoscopic lights for this one. Most of the audience stood up when Tori went into Carole King's "I Feel the Earth Move" part.

I Can't See NY: This seemed shorter than normal, but I am probably mistaken.

Precious Things: There seemed to be barely a break between this song and "NY." Similar to the "Venus" version but without the long intro. Awesome, as ever.

After this Tori leaves the stage. The roadies and other folks come out with two cakes, balloons and a small banner that says "look who's turning 40". ( I was looking to see if Neil Gaiman was there, but I didn't see him.) There is also a little "40" sign that they stuck on top of the wurly that stayed there for the rest of the show. The band comes out with Ben Folds. He jumps onto Tori's bench and starts playing The Beatles "Birthday" with the band. Tori comes out smiling and seemingly very touched. Ben Folds stands up on the bench and leads the audience singing "Happy Birthday." She hugs Ben and blows out the candles. After this the gang on the stage leaves and Tori and band start playing.

Tom Bigbee: I had not heard this bside before. It was pretty cool and I'd love to have a copy at some point. It was at the same time reminiscent of "Precious Things" and "Sweet Sangria" but that probably makes no sense to anyone but me.

Amber Waves: Tori played a cool piano introduction to this one. It was slower than the studio version and very nicely done.

Tori and band leave again. Tori comes back out by herself and the stage is lit up with white.

Landslide: Always a treat. Tori smiled a lot and just looked lost in the song. She held out the "I'm getting older, too" part and the audience cheered.

Tear in Your Hand: This song choked me up more than normal. As far as I'm concerned, she could play this at every show; it's one of my all-time faves. Tori did it beautifully, as always.

Past the Mission: High energy and lots of fun. I think the is the only song of the night that used the piano, the Rhodes, and the wurly.

Tori said goodnight, touched hands with some audience members, waved, and ran off. Another magical night was over. This was a strange show for me, because although Tori did not play a lot of my favorites or ones I was really hoping to hear, her energy and showmanship still made it a great show. Also, it was a real privilege to be seeing her play on her 40th.

From Jesye:

It was a wonderful night in Holmdel with a lightening storm brewing by the end of the concert. It appeared that there was static in the air just reacting to Tori's pianos. I had an extra ticket that I gave to some guy wanting to get in. Free of charge for a Tori fan (karma). My brother and I debated whether or not this was the best Tori concert we had been to. It was a toss up between this one and the time we saw her at Madison Square Garden when he blew her a kiss and she caught it. Certainly, she gave an incredible performance at PNC Arts Center. The songs that stayed with me for days after the show were her opening for Baker, Baker, Mary, improv birthday song and Professional Widow (nice mic-job, Tori!). Of course, Matt and John were wonderful as well. It seemed that many of her songs reflected the passage of time. We were just really happy (glowing actually) to be able to share Tori's birthday with her and so many other Tori fans; and lucky to get to scream "Happy Birthday" several times before the cake came out.

Read a review of this concert from

From Edward Randazzo:

This was my fourth time seeing Tori (And my 3rd time on the Scarlet's Walk/Lottapianos Tour.) I, like many other EWF, feel that the variation in the sets are lacking. But as far as Tori goes, SHE ROCKED Friday night in NJ!!! And to be at Tori's birthday bash was SO cool! Tori is just an amazing performer! I only wish I could see more shows!

Highlights were:

SUGAR (Lovely!)

Professional Widow (I never really liked the studio cut of this one, but OMG!!! I am speechless! There was a point when Tori grabbed her mic...and... SHE just went nuts and let loose!! WOAH!!!)

Mary (It was very cool to hear this!)

Tombigbee (What a great bee side! I was groovin' :)

Amber Waves (I love the piano intro here. So delicate, so Tori!)

Landslide (I figured this one would show up :) CLASSIC!

Tori seemed in good spirits and full of energy! There were lots of smiles too! And I love how she works those keys!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TORI!!!!!!!!!! Glad I was there to help celebrate with you!!!!!

From debbie tinnirello:

the birthday show was awesome!!

after a sorta fairtale tori whipped sugar out of no where...i leaned over to my friend and whispered 'tori means business tonight!' it was probably the best version i have ever powerful.

the bring on improv before band intros was soo cute! i look forward to hearing this one on tape at some point...the last bit was something about husband trying to go at it a little too early in the morning....

bells for her. i was speechless, have not heard it since plugged, it has grown so much, i forgot how sad this song is until tonight. very beautiful

right before secretime/roadside cafe tori thanked us all for coming which was very sweet. the improv...go back in time was so beautiful, about beene and her talking about their kids, when tash was a twinkle (which made me think twinkle was coming next) it was so lovely. all of the secret times songs and lanslide had a "i'm getting older thing" which was nice. right before the end of saturday aftenoons 1963 tori whispered 'husband,' years may go by

you know on the hey jupiter ep,tori does pro widow and talks about a brain annurism(sp?) i thought she was going to need on after that preformace. insanely intense. i can still hear the paino in my head, a personal highlight for me

i love the new take to the sky arrangement. i just had to mention that

right before tombigbee the crew, john witherspoon, etc. came out with a tray of birthday cakes (yes cakes) ben folds was so cute leading the crowd, (although i did think how weird it was watching someone else play her piano...) she looked honestly shocked, about ben folds anyway, and maybe even a little embarrassed when she came out. but she took it with dignity and grace.

landslide as lovely as always the audience cheered during "and i'm getting older to" which got us a great smile.

tear in your hand is always a crowd pleaser...

all in all a great show. tori did NOT let 40 get her down, she played harder than i had seen her in a while which as great fun, with some very intense moments.

Posted by: Mikewhy

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