North American Plugged '98 Tour
Oakland, CA
September 15, 1998

Updated November 15, 1998

Check Out The Reviews And Set Lists Page

Tori performed in Oakland, CA on September 15, 1998 at the Oakland Arena during the main North American leg of her Plugged '98 tour.

Set List

Tori performed Happy Phantom and Hey Jupiter solo. Special thanks to Andrea Cleaver and Violet for calling me on the phone with the set list! The first people to email me the set list were Ethan W. Shvartzman, Alicia Kelley and Daven Nightlord.

Precious Things
Cornflake Girl
Bells For Her
Happy Phantom (solo)
Hey Jupiter (solo)
Jackie's Strength
Space Dog
The Waitress

1st Encore:
She's Your Cocaine
Raspberry Swirl

2nd Encore:


The most recently added reviews are first.

From Teddy Bear (posted to the Precious-Things mailing list)

November 15, 1998 - Hi, I'm the numbnut who posted the setlist for the Oakland 9/15 concert and never got around to writing a review. What can I say? These three jobs are killing me.

I figure that a full-fledged review would be pretty silly at this point, but I'd still like to share with you a few notes that I scribbled down while I was in the throes of our goddess' performance.

I've been following the song counts, and I have to laugh. It just so happens that Tori didn't play any of the four songs from Choirgirl that I was dying to hear at the concert: Black-Dove (January), Hotel, Northern Lad, Playboy Mommy. Nevertheless, it was still a fantastic performance.

Before "Bells for Her," Tori said something like: "You've probably noticed that I write songs about girls who diss each other." Then she said something about ruining a best-friendship. I could SWEAR that she skipped a verse, though! The one with my favorite line: "Now she seems to be sand under his shoes/There's nothing I can do." Somebody who was there: Am I crazy?

When she played with the Teletubby doll before quiet time, she sort of improvised a little diddy about it being "a holy creature with markings of purity...I'm a Dipsy."

Hey, Jupiter was a real treat during quiet time. She ROCKETED those high notes. I think the straight teenage boys next to me were crying. I remember thinking, "Yes, there IS hope for the next generation!"

Part of her improvised lyrics on the ROCKING version of Waitress went something like:

"I'm gonna go where she goes
I'm gonna get me one of those
I believe in something
I believe in that girl
I believe she's my Jesus"

My only criticism about the "band sound" was that at times, her voice and the piano got lost among all that other sound. It was like you could hear one or the other (voice or piano), but not together. I remember reading some of your reviews where you said the same thing.

Sooooo, I hope this has been informative, especially for those lucky shits who will be seeing Tori again on the rest of the tour.

P.S. Oops, I forgot the most interesting "added" lyric, during the "Horses" encore: "I'm looking for seraphim." (angels represented as babies in religiously inspired art--could this be a reference to her miscarriage?) Hmmm...

From SF Weekly

September 24, 1998 - EWF Becky Renne Cordova sent me a review of the Oakland show that appeared in the Sept 23-29, 1998 edition of the SF Weekly newspaper.

Tori Amos
Oakland Arena
Tuesday, Sept. 15

Tori Amos does sad better than most anyone. Survivor of religion, rape, marriage, and a recent miscarriage, the thirtysomething singer/pianist performs live with an intensity that amplifies her own inner heartbreak. But unlike inimitable Polly Jean Harvey or girl-wonder Alanis Morissette, Amos doesn't traffic over-the-top expressions of ire, the essential ingredient for cathartic, headbanging rock concerts. Instead, she creates an intimate rapport between herself and the audience through mere words, melody, and lulling piano lines. Last week at the Oakland Arena Amos managed to evoke the characteristic intimacy that's drawn countless fans since her 1991 debut, Little Earthquakes [italicized]. But she also jeopardized the effect by trying too hard to achieve a power rock-concert dynamic with a very loud band.

In concert and on record, Amos charms listeners with the passion of her vocals, the poetry of her lyrics, and the beautiful music of her stage presence. At the Arena, that presence surprisingly lacked artifice even though Amos demonstrated her progish penchant for hitting both the Bosendorfer and the electric keyboard at the same time, arms wide and hair flailing like a youthful Rick Wakeman or Keith Emerson.

The set list must have pleased both plebs and die-hards. Fresh arrangements of recent hits ("Spark," "She's Your Cocaine") and old favorites ("Cornflake Girl," "Precious Things") played up to the emotional nuances of her material, but Amos also occasionally balanced the confessional sobriety with well-timed comic relief (e.g., Black Sabbath's "Sweet Leaf" in the middle of "Cocaine"). And her ethereal voice always soared high above the big noise of her rocker sidekicks.

Amos' current album, From the Choirgirl Hotel [italics], is by far her "heaviest" to date. The singer played half of the Choirgirl [italics] tunes at the show, including the stealthy "Iieee," the candidly bitchy "Cruel," and the especially moving "Jackie's Strength." Multilayered with a super high-fidelity digital punch and more electric grooves than on her past three full-lengths, the disc intensifies the singer's piano-bar approach.

A quasi-mystic queen of hearts, Amos and her songs scan the heavens and beyond for spiritual healing. She travels to "the other side of the galaxy" on "Black-Dove (January)," a Choirgirl [italics] tune she opted not to play in Oakland. On "Happy Phantom," one of the best songs of the night -- and one of the only two pieces performed without the band -- she cracked the rollicking lines, "And if I die today, I'll be the happy phantom/ And I'll go chasing the nuns out in the yard." On the same tune, the singer found solace pretending she was "Judy Garland taking Buddha by the hand."

Amos' personal cosmology encompasses the great divine hierarchies and then some -- Christ and Judas, angels and devils, Pandora, Aphrodite, Sufism, fairies -- in a mix-and-match belief system where everything is possible and nothing is unreal. The more flamboyant of her followers visibly buy into this concept as well. The devout wore magenta-dyed tresses, glitter-flecked faces, and lam`e outfits of sparkly golds, blues, and reds. A few fairies with diaphanous wings and shimmering tiaras even turned out ready to flutter off on Tori Amos' phantasmic falsetto.

But inasmuch as the transcendental figures into her vision, so too does carnal revelry. A power-player with words, Amos layers much of her material with sexual innuendo, double entendre, or blatant metaphor, as on the groovy dance track "Raspberry Swirl," which brought down the disco balls and got the glamour boys bumping out of their seats on the first encore as if it were the Folsom Street Fair. The heavy breathing on "Waitress" was classic Tori Amos, the lyrics on "Cruel" -- "Even the rain bows down let us pray as you cock-cock-cock your mane" -- a master stroke of gender-bent religio-sexual bemusement.

Pop psychologists would say that she's overcompensating for the guilt and shame she still feels from her Bible-bound upbringing as a minister's daughter. But no one at this gig seemed to mind when she grabbed her crotch midsong and bucked the piano bench. One longtime fan said she used to rock the bench at solo shows until she had an orgasm -- or at least that's what it looked like. She clearly restrained herself at the Arena. These days Amos wants to live out a rock 'n' roll fantasy, and it's obvious she hired the right band to do it. But anyone who's seen Amos writhe alone knows that she does just fine all by herself.

-Sam Prestianni

From The San Francisco Chronicle

September 20, 1998 - Toriphile Beth Winegarner sent me a review of this show that appeared in the September 17, 1998 edition of the San Francisco Chronicle.

Tori Amos Shifts Style To Arena-Sized Sparkle
Cult singer loses intimacy but keeps fans' affection
Neva Chonin, Chronicle Staff Critic

When Tori Amos last toured the West Coast two years ago (not including her recent promotional gig at the Fillmore), her only companions were her grand piano and longtime collaborator-guitarist Steve Caton. On Tuesday, Amos arrived at the New Arena in Oakland with a synthesizer, elaborate light show, endless supply of theatrical smoke, mirrored disco balls, bassist, drummer-percussionist, guitarist and a bright green Teletubby.

It was all a little overwhelming coming from an artist who made her mark through the intimacy of her albums and performances. Mixing elements of folk, pop and classical music, her unique stylings and confessional lyrics have won her a diverse, fiercely devoted following that has grown steadily over the course of four albums. The affection seems to be reciprocal, and Amos' concerts have always been exercises in performer-audience bonding, from be tween-song chatter to the oceans of bouquets flooding the stage.

Such intimacy proved more difficult in the arena, where the upper balcony was all but empty and where the acoustics are better suited to louder, rowdier acts.

But the larger venues -- Amos plays the Event Center in San Jose on Saturday -- and stage shows come at a time when the cult singer is expanding her range and style. Amos' latest and most adventurous album, "From the Choirgirl Hotel," shifted away from the spare acoustics of her earlier efforts, opting instead for a broad spectrum of rock- and dance-based arrangements.

Though Tuesday's show drew the usual eclectic Amos audience -- gay girls; straight girls and their boys; bemused, middle-aged music aficionados; and posses of teen pixies sporting red hair and crudely constructed angel wings -- Amos soon made it plain that she was breaking her performing mold.

After a short opening set by pop- folk trio the Devlins, Amos strode onstage amid billowing towers of smoke and flashing lights, waved to the crowd and attacked the keyboards for a raucous rendition of "Precious Things."

Throughout her 90-minute set, which included two encores, Amos replaced her usual writhing on the piano bench for more expansive theatrics, including abandoning her keyboard altogether to dance across the stage.

Unfortunately, while the band and pyrotechnics allowed more freedom of movement, they also distracted from the show's real draw: Amos' remarkably versatile voice and musicianship.

The driving rock beats transformed newer songs such as "iieee" and "Cruel" into compelling theater, but they buried softer numbers such as "Cornflake Girl," which hit its high note when Amos delivered an a cappella intro.

The louder and larger scale of the show also distanced Amos from her audience. The only spontaneous interaction came when Amos introduced her "new friend," a green Teletubby doll wearing a monkish cowl.

"This is Dipsy," Amos said, showing the audience the toy. "Dipsy has become a religious creature with all the markings of purity." An improvised song followed ("Dipsy, Dipsy/Totally pure!") before the singer tossed Dipsy aside and launched into the honky-tonk number "Happy Phantom."

In years past, Amos closed her shows alone in the spotlight, singing the haunting chronicle of a rape, "Me and a Gun," to a hushed house. This time around, she chose to exit with disco lights flashing and the crowd cheering wildly.

Even at a time when she's defiantly pursuing her own radical muse, Amos can still leave her fans loving her.

From Violet

September 18, 1998 - Robyn wrote [in a review below]:

>She had a little stuffed animal I think she called "dipsy" but I don't >remember...she was so cute!!

That was Dipsy, the green Teletubbie. It was swathed in fabric (from where I sat, it looked like it was dressed like an Ewok) and she sang to it, "Dipsy, mark of purity. Dipsy, Dipsy, mark of purity" as she took the "robe" off of him. (The joke, of course, is that each of the Teletubbies has its own "symbol" coming out of the top of its head, and Dipsy's is this long phallic thing that points straight up, so Tori's dirty mind was at work here. It was very funny.)

We also got treated to several minutes of a "Mr. Puppet" show out at the bus after the Sacramento concert. He was "on stage" for some time (Tori & crew were stuck in the bus with the engine running for several minutes waiting for Mark to get his butt out there).

From Steve the Sweet Fat Man

September 18, 1998 - Stuff that happened or occured to me before, during and after the Oakland show:

****It was kind of odd using the same route that I use to go to A's baseball games (yeah, I know, they're a sucky team, but I find live baseball to be relaxing and fun) to go to see Tori. You take BART to the Oakland Coliseum station and walk across a big ramp to get to the stadium. (And, in this case, walk a bit farther to get to the Arena, where the show was.) Only this time, instead of your typical baseball crowd, you have your typical Tori crowd. Meaning, lots of interesting looking and cute people of both genders looking slightly starry-eyed, being that they're heading to the holy presence of their favorite 24-karat fruit loop.

****To add to the cultural dissonance, we have the stock Arena welcoming message playing on the loudspeakers as we go inside. Now, the Arena is usually used for basketball. So - well, not to be pissy, but I hardly think anyone's bringing ice chests to the Tori show.

****The Arena has just been renovated, and it's pretty nice. There was a nice little lounge area where I could enjoy my bratwurst (tasty if overpriced) and Diet Coke. And inside the arena itself, it's pretty attractive, save for the tacky ad signs. Certainly not as lovely as the Paramount, where Tori played in '96 (an old art deco theater that's a national landmark and all), but pleasant enough.

****And my seat wasn't as bad as I thought it would be! Except for the fact that I had to turn to the side for the whole show. Honestly, I don't think I was any closer at the Paramount.

****I was "alone" at this show, in that I didn't actually go with anyone. But the nice thing about Tori shows is that us long-time fans are never really alone! For one thing, I got to meet the Really Deep Legend the Rynn Grrl, who has graced my fair city with her presence for college. She's just as bright and charming in person as she is on the list. (I had a nice phone chat with her the night before, too.) And I also got to hang with Violet for awhile too, and that's always fun.

****The Devlins? Eh. Pleasant and innoffensive, that's all. My favorite moment during their set was when they announced that they were Irish, and some wag yelled, "Michael Flatley rules!" (That HAD to be a joke. Right?) Otherwise, I think I'll give them a miss at the San Jose show.

****Tori hit the stage at about 9:26. She was wearing a red smock thingy and looked way cute, even from a big ol' distance. She started with "Precious Things", which really is an essential song for her to play. Especially with the band; it just kicks ass.

****Indeed, the band arrangements actually improve most of the old songs. The exception to that, I think, is "Bells For Her". That was such a delicate, in- the-moment song (being that it was improvised and all), that it doesn't really stand up to the band treatment. I really preferred it on the modified old piano. But "Sugar" was just great. Especially because there was a person standing up and dancing really sexily during it. Heeeee.

****If anything, Tori is improving as a pianist. The control and creativity she showed during "Happy Phantom" was just astonsishing. That song was a real highlight. And she plays beautifully with the band as well. (It helps that the band is just astonishingly good, and getting better.) As I said before, the girl and her piano are dead, long live the girl and her piano.

****Just in case we were worried that Tori is getting too grown up and dignified on us, she played with a stuffed animal for a little bit at one point. A young woman behind me exclaimed, "She's nuts!" She obviously meant it as a compliment.

****"Space Dog" ruled.

****During "She's Your Cocaine", the band broke into a few bars of "Sweet Leaf". (An old Black Sabbath song, for you youngsters out there.) Very funny, but also touching in a way. As when she played "Whole Lotta Love" during the very first show of hers I saw, that moment reminded me that Tori is my cultural contemporary; she's coming from where I come from, in terms of pop culture. And now she's playing arena shows, just like the Led Zeppelin show I saw when I was a kid. Some have said that they think Tori is out of her element at these shows. I disagree. I think it's a culmination.

****Because the very last moment of the show - a vocal swoop at the end of "Horses", with her arm streched out to the audience - was indicative of the fact that she can play to a house that size. She may be tiny, but like all great entertainers, she's somewhat larger than life. She's perfectly capable of giving The Tori Experience in arenas. I hope I continue to get to see her in all sizes of houses during her career, but this arena thing works just fine for me.

****Of course, it'll be nice to be in the 13th row in San Jose on Saturday. I can't wait! And I do hope I get to "meet and greet" her, too. It's about time I at least attempt to tell her what she means to me, face to face.

From Daryle Carlson

September 18, 1998 - The Tori gig in Oakland, California on 9/15/98 was an energetic and inspiring show! I won't bother to write up the set list since others have already, but I would like to make some comments.

The Devlins were a really neat opening act - not only because they were from Ireland (my ancestry) - but also because their songs had catchy melodies and the guitar parts were very spacious. I must say that it was rather unusual to see the drummer's drum kit located at "stage left" as compared to the usual position of being behind the other musicians. A drummer could only be proud!!

Tori's set was a little late getting started for some reason, but that was a good thing because it created more anticipation. And when the lights went down and the band started in on Precious Things, the crowd went crazy! The highlights for me were iieee (my favorite Choirgirl tune), Space Dog (a tremendous "band" song), Happy Phantom, The Waitress (with its usual frenetic lighting effects and crowd reaction), and She's Your Cocaine (which featured a nice dance from Tori in the intro). The only song that missed the mark "live" for me was Raspberry Swirl, although some other people loved it (which is great). Matt did some neat percussion parts on it, but I really feel the tune lacked the strong bass drum and backbeat that makes it the great "dance" song that it is on record.

Last but not least: after the show. This really has nothing to do with this particular concert since I suppose the same scene repeats itself after every gig. While most people waiting to see Tori after the show were kind and respectful, some people were just extremely rude and obnoxious. She did end up signing a limited amount of autographs (she didn't have time to get to me - I'll try again at San Jose!), but I just couldn't believe some of the behavior that was going on - people insulting the security guards, etc. The barricade on a couple of occasions almost fell down (and since I was directly in back of it I would have fallen with it) because of people standing on it. Also, I found it incredibly disturbing when several people shouted out DEMANDS (not requests) for Tori to come over and see them. And so much needless, impatient screaming! These people need to look at the situation from Tori's perspective instead of just spontaneously combusting and acting out! Maybe I'm just older or whatever, but these people need to understand that Tori is a human being with "human" emotions. Several people need to be more considerate in the meet and greet lines - if Tori has time folks she'll get to you (yes - she probably knows that the line wraps around the barricade!). And if she doesn't have time, it is probably for very valid reasons. And screaming at her and launching insults at the guards (who were friendly in fact) probably does not do anything to inspire her to sign more autographs or whatever - in fact, if I were her, I would be embarrassed and upset at this sort of immature and disrespectful behavior. Again, the vast majority of people in line were kind and respectful, but please remember folks that Tori is a "friend" - not a demigod. I'll now start getting ready for Saturday's gig in San Jose!!....Daryle in Marina, CA

From Amy Leigh Christensen

September 18, 1998 - I'll keep mine brief since many others have done a great job of elaborating on the Oakland show. I agree that the sound was a tad too loud and in some of her more rockin' moments it got a little muddled. The "Dipsy, pure and innocent Dipsy" ode to her green Telletubby was tres cute. Tori and the boys seemed really tight and I enjoyed seeing them play off each other.

Kenny did a nice levitation at the before Tori came on with a little red spot on him as he was raised up! This was the first show where I saw some Born-Agains with banners trying to save our souls! Hmmmnn. Tori has successfully touched a nerve! :)

From Derek Botelho

September 18, 1998 - Hey Mike, my name is Derek and I just wanted to tell everyone that the show was AMAZING! Before the show I met Tori, and I got some pictures taken with her. We talked for a few minutes, I gave her a gift of some hair barrettes that she said were "fabulous" and then I requested she play "happy phantom" and she wrote a note on her arm to play it, and she did!!!!!!!!! She gave me two enormous hugs and signed my UTP cd booklet, not mine actually, my new pal Heather's which she gave to me, MUCH LOVE HEATHER!! All I have to say is when she began the show until it ended I was in heaven! I have seen her twice before but she blew the roof off that dump! I am going to the San Jose show saturday so I better get working on my gift for her I will give her then also.

From MiKeY (posted to various tori mailing lists)

September 18, 1998 - well i attended my very first tori concert last night at the new oakland was also my first time seeing her in person, and i was just so excitied about the whole thing the entire day...well since i'm a senior still in high school, i was planning on getting out a little early to try and see her at the meet and greet...and this is what i had planned ever since i bought my ticket back in may or so...and the night before the concert my parents changed their minds on can imagine how dissappointed and even a little upset i was...but nevertheless ig ot over it...and i was still gonna go see her at after getting to the show...meeting friends...seeing the devlins from our original far away seats...getting moved up to the floor seats in front of the stage...feeling euphoric at just the first sight of tori in person...crying to tori's performing "hey jupiter"...laughing at tori's kuteness and her little stori about the teletubby she had on stage, dipsy...shaking my ass to raspberry swirl...loving one of my favorties "space dog"...and watching the breath-taking encores...that's when we were blessed by some woman who gave us two extra aftershow passes...!!!

oh my gosh...we were so shocked and excited...but didn't know what to do since we only had two...but three people, it was me and my friends renee and we walked down to where they were letting people in...and the people told us to put on our passes to get and renee just stood not knowing what to do...katrina wasn't saying anything...we knew we all wanted to meet her...and after being rushed by the and renee and up going this time the other 35 people had all and renee were the last two people with passes...they directed us to "the door" it was open and it said dressing room and inside was tori greeting us to come in!!! oh my gosh i couldn't believe this was happening...renee started to bow down...she was speechless...and i was on the verge of tori came to me and hugged me...for a long time!!

i was just amazed she was holding since renee couldn't speak i did all the talking...i don't even remember what she was saying to us when we first cme in or what i was saying...but i remember holding her hands and mentioning "the tori book" she knew it right away and said she brings it with her everywhere and she absolutely loves it! and then i told her that i had submitted a poem in the book which was a personal poem about me...but at the same time was all about tori...she asked me my name and i said "mikey" and i told her the title of the poem...and she said "yes i remember it" oh my gosh!!! hearing her say that was absolutely magical...she went on to sign the back of my little devlins was all i had...and she signed our aftershow passes...she also signed the set list and gave it to renee...then it was time for us to leave...i bid her farewell by saying what i always say..."smooches" it was truly an experience of a lifetime...

From David Driscoll

September 17, 1998 - Here's a short review from the Oakland Show based partly in response to other reviews. I really couldn't believe that anyone would have a problem with the sound. It was unreal. I thought I was listening to her perform live on CD! I could here every instrument and every note of her voice perfectly and at the perfect volume. The sound is what made it so terrific. "Jackie's Strength" really stood out as the example of perfect sound. I think that the Oakland Arena is a really good place to see a show because it is hard to get a bad seat (not comparing it to smaller venues). I saw the Beastie Boys there on Sunday and it was a great show due to the small distance between the fans and the performers. However, I will admit that the sound was not good at this show. However, I will also say that the Beastie Boys are a lot louder and that is crucial to sound quality. You literally could have brought a hand-held tape recorder and come out with a descent copy of the show. I can't say enough about how awesome Tori is. This was my first time seeing her and definitly will not be my last. I just hope I can get really good seats again. Props to my girlfriend Quincy for doing a good job on her first time dealing with ticket responsibilities. "Raspberry Swirl" was a terrific encore with great lighting and charisma. I only wish that the second encore was not "Horses" because that's not one of my favorites. I was hoping for "Professional Widow," but there's always next time. Thanks for keeping me informed Mike.

From Dyynnomite

September 17, 1998 - i know you've already received some reviews, but here's another story...i was listening to alice 97.3 in the morning and they were giving away tori ticks to the show plus a chance to get in with the press before the show and take i tried calling every time i heard a tori song, but no luck there...anyway, i called the station to ask whether there'd be an audience for her mini performance at the station, and they said no..nonetheless, a friend and i got into the car and headed over make a long story short, we were unable to get in, though we were quite close at times!! however, we did manage to spot her limo and waited outside for fact, the limo driver (who didn't even know what tori's about!!) tuned into the program for us so we could hear it :) i just managed to hear purple people..hopefully, they'll air it again so i can hear the interview and the other two songs...but, tori finally made her way out, and there was just a group of about 10-15 of us waiting for her...i got my copy of LE signed and got to take some pics of/with her...i had met her before after the glasgow show in scotland, and this time she seemed a bit more reserved and spacy, but of course very usual, she was fighting off joel who was trying to get her into the limo as soon as was a great opportunity to meet her, 'cause there wasn't such a huge crowd and no one was obnoxious or turning it into a competition...i made it to the oakland show later that day, and it was really cool, although i had crap seats toward the back...i definitely noticed that she had more self confidence, because she allowed herself to improvise more during songs..and she was as tight as ever with the band...also, the show was really high energy in my opinion, especially compared to the show in scotland...and o my she looked great in the red dress!! my fav part of the show was when she played happy phantom and hey jupiter...even though the band adds a certain charm to it all, it also takes a way a lot...the venue was too big, and it attracted many people who didn't even seem to have respect for tori, much less those who knew most of her fact, four people sitting right in front of me were smoking constantly throughout the show (and mind you, this is a closed auditorium) and the only time they cheered was when they heard "spark..." it's like, spend your 30 bucks on a musician you really was still great... :)

From Andrea Cleaver

September 16, 1998 - Andrea called me on the phone and gave me a few details from the show. Tori was wearing a gray sweater, red sparkly apron, black heels and dark gray pants. The concert started at 9:25PM and ended at 11:05PM. There was a barricade between the crowd and the stage which left a pretty large gap between her and the crowd. Tori seemed really talkative tonight. She did a slow acapella intro for Cornflake Girl. Before Bells For Her Tori said something like, " I started writing songs for girls who diss each other. I had a friend, a best friend, and I guess I dissed her too..." Before Happy Phantom Tori said something like, "I see all you people in the back...I always used to sit in the back. I like you people in back because you are going to think I am smaller than I really am." During Raspberry Swirl, Matt Chamberlain (the drummer) was not the only one with deely boppers on...there were at least three people in the audience with them as well. Is this the start of a trend? :)

From Shaun Johnson

September 16, 1998 - This concert rocked! Tori has got the whole rock star thing covered, I don't think she even realizes it. She came out on stage, wearing a red sequin covered dress, with grey pants, and a grey long-sleeve shirt underneath. It was a very interesting look. The concert started off with just the great band playing, and then Tori appeared. Everyone freaked out. She has a very powerful presence. They played "Precious Things", and then "IIeee", and then she started telling a story about a good friend of hers who killed herself, who inspired a lot of songs to be written. She then started singing something all by herself that I did not recognize, and then some familiar words started popping up, and it was "Cornflake Girl!" They performed a very Spark-esque version of "Bells For Her" and immeadiatly broke into my favorite song of all time, "Sugar." What luck! She must play that song at a lot of concerts or I'm just lucky. As usual, it was beautiful. After "Cruel" was played, which ended with a lengthy jam, the band left the stage. Tori then said, "I want you to all know this new friend of mine!" and she lifted up this mysterious green object off the floor. She said, "This is Dipsy. Dipsy, Dipsy." and then she removed the towel that was covering the stuffed animal's face. I looked in my binoculars, and saw that what she was holding was Dipsy, the T.V. character from the British show, "Teletubbies." Tori was playing with the Dipsy doll and I was happy with this! I watch the show with my 10-month old nephew and have too become a fan of "Teletubbies." Anyway, Tori played a solo version of Happy Phantom, and near the end of the song, she sang, "Amen Dipsy, Amen Dipsy, Amen Dipsy," etc. It was soooo cool! I just love the way she always improvs. It's so classic Tori! I've been to many concerts, and only Tori improvs like this. It is very unique,(and this was my first Tori concert too!). After that, she sang a very beautiful version of Hey Jupiter. Space Dog live is really good. "The Waitress" was amazing and longer/jammyer. They then had an encore where every single person stood up and screamed. They came back to play "She's Your Cocaine."

Matt Chamberlain put on a helmet [deely boppers] with electric, yellow, antenna stars, which was very funny, and started drumming some garbage can-looking thing and they performed "Raspberry Swirl." There were green, and purple lights flashing all over the place and everyone was dancing and having a great time. This song is amazing live, and fun as hell. The show ended with "Horses." This song was accompanied by three disco balls shining all over the audiance which looked like snow flakes falling everywhere. It gave the "Horses" performance a very mystical feel to it. I couldn't even tell what the song "Horses" was because it was sung, and performed, completely different. The only thing that allowed me to know that is was "Horses" was when she sang the words, "and milkwood, and silkwood." This concert was awesome and it rocked more than I would have expected. Go Tori! I was definetly moved by the atmosphere. The other way to best describe this concert was how mystical it was. It was wonderful.

From Beth Winegarner

September 16, 1998 - It's 1am and I just got home. I'm sure I'll have more thoughts after I've had sleep (and possibly seen more shows). But a few quick things. During secret time Tori sang a special song to her tellytubby doll of Dipsy and went into Happy Phantom, and at the end sang to Dipsy again. :) Sugar and Space Dog were great -- I'd never heard either of them live before (in person I mean. I've heard them on bootlegs).

But I really just have one thing to say.

The live Raspberry Swirl is just about the rockingest thing on 8 legs.


In Oakland Tori was wearing a black long-sleeved top, a red sequined apron dress, pants and -- I didn't see her shoes.

From Adam Kimball

September 16, 1998 - Well, I've been looking forward to this concert for months now. I waited a long time to secure my good seats, and finally the time arrived. Sadly though, I was disappointed in tonight's show...

The venue is a sad specimen indeed. It was mammoth, fans filled only about 3/5 of it. The space was terribly unintimate, there is an aesthetic void at the core of that place. But, what the hell- it is a basketball auditorium, they have tractor pull competitions there. I wasn't surprised overall, I was surprised only that it fell short of my admittedly low expectations.

And I haven't even come to the sound. Cacophonous comes as close to describing it as anything. No, that is an overstatement, but it wasn't good. Her piano sounded unnatural, hampered by overly close mic'ing and too much flabby amplification. The bass and guitar were fine, very low in the mix overall. Then there was the perpetual slap of the drums coming off the back wall. It smothered and suffocated Tori's voice, which already had too much reverb. All things considered, I thought her range was nearly halved. She was unable to coax sweetness out of it- the delicacy that I appreciate was totally lost- or trampled down. It seemed to me that her ability to give voice to profound emotion only extended from a moderately sedate eveness upwards towards rapturous. The rapture was there. It was the fragile, timid, uncertain, and introspective voices that didn't come to life. The sound was too vulgar to carry the nuances that those voices require. I'm not saying that the voices weren't there - I am saying that if they were, they never got past her microphone.

I remember the setlist so-so, but unless I am mistaken it wasn't very compelling. Looking at the stats, I see Happy Phantom is 'rare' on this tour, but sadly it isn't rare to my ears. Her "Private Time" contained Hey Jupiter which was nice. But overall, I'd say the songs were fairly predictable for an older Tori fan- nothing challenging.

What does that leave? Tori's demeanor, I suppose. She was fun to watch- as usual. She had moments (Waitress, Cruel) where it seemed she was on the verge of losing it - personality wise. Her snooty side was alive and well, balanced by her firm side - full of resolve as it is. It seemed to me she was feeling pretty powerful - she was tough, strong, maybe a bit angry- cocked and loaded might be embellishing too much. As I said, I thought her compassionate- warm- side was the casualty tonight.

Some of this just comes down to the fact that Tori has changed. Her priorities, her values, her artistic direction- this tour has clearly revealed that they have changed. I personally think, judging by tonight, they have changed for the worse. She is sacrificing half of her emotional range to accomodate such large venues. In venues like this one, she obviously justifies the loss of that side by the benefit of having more people attend. I'm not going to falt her for it, but I have to disagree with it. I know others feel differently. If an artist isn't turning some people off, they are weak and afraid. Tori is neither, not by a long shot.

From Erin Ahern

September 16, 1998 - Tori was great in Oakland, of course! She was on the local radio station at about 2:40 or so. She talked with the DJ and performed Cooling, Purple People, and Honey. She was "in a B-side mood" that day. She talked about the plugged tour, web sightes on the internet, and her improvisation of Oh Susanna in Eugene. Tori said it was "the northern weed" drifting up to the stage that made her do it. I went to see her in Oakland. I got there right after she did 'meet and greet', so I was bummed about that. But the show was great. She really fills up the arena with her voice and her presence. My favorites of the night were Bells for Her, Space Dog (that was soooo amazing), Sugar (YEEEEAAAAHH.. ive wanted to hear that live for a long time), and Rasberry Swirl. The live Rasberry Swirl is better than the album version. Matt Chamberlin had on these little glowing stars on his head, they come on a head band and stick up off your head and move around. It was cool cause you could see him in the back pounding on the drums and the little stars were just flying all over the place. The lights for the show were great too. Happy Phantom and Hey Jupiter were very nice in the secret time. It was a great show over all.

From Davey Averbach

September 16, 1998 - There are times when Tori's concerts are all about the relationship with the audience and there are times when her concerts are all about the music. This concert fell into the latter type. Although we could tell her voice was hoarse when she finally spoke after the second song, it was just as powerful, energetic and beautiful as one could have hoped when she sang. But it was not a conversation with the audience; it was a performance for the audience. Someone who has never seen Tori live before would have been blown away because as performances go, it was close to flawless. Anyone who knows Tori's shows undoubtedly realized that the lack of intimacy at this particular performance couldn't be blamed on the enormity of the arena alone. Although she genuinely looked like she was having a great time on stage, she and the rest of the audience remained decided separated from one another.

The first thing Tori said was "yeah, yeah I know you're all really happy to be here." It was almost a sign that all she wanted to do was play. She said very little to the audience after that. After i i e e e she introduced the band. Before Bells for Her she something about how girls dis each other and there was a reason that's what the song was about. When she spoke her voice was quite hoarse, and I think she wanted to save her voice for the singing. But she didn't hold anything back. Her voice was clear and powerful, and she was hitting high notes (except the one at the end of Jackie's Strength) perfectly. During secret time she held up some animal cartoon doll that I probably should have recognized and chirped about how it was supposed to represent purity as she took off all it's clothes. That was it. Happy Phantom is kind of a showy song, and I don't think it did much to bring the audience closer to her. Hey Jupiter was beautiful, but the audience wasn't warmed up for it. She held the high notes and sort of embellished them a whole bunch of times, and it was beautiful, but not the song that left me in tears during the DDI tour. The later part of the concert--Spark, Watiress, She's Your Cocaine, Raspberry Swirl, Horses--were all band songs with loud drums and long improv sections. Tori just was having a great time with them. After the Waitress, she hugged all the band members before she left the stage. (Does she always do that or was she just in an unusual mood?) Before the second encore she danced back on stage as the rest of the band played. She was smiling the whole time. It was a very professional concert. It showed the audience that she knows her stuff. That she could handle an arena that size. I heard people saying on the way out that it was the best live performance they had ever seen. The performance was almost flawless. Maybe I miss the intimacy, but I wanted to feel her perform, not just watch her perform.

From ESP in Woodacre!

September 16, 1998 - Hi Mike- I saw the Oakland show last night and was blown-away by all the energy that Tori and her "brothers" emminated out to us. I saw the Fillmore show in May and couldn't believe how great it was, but if I had to compare it to last night then I guess the Oakland show was alot more upbeat. Any way you look at it, each show in itself was amazing and if I wasn't going to Sacramento tonight I don't think I would've fell asleep last night as I came home all fired-up! Well here's the setlist:(in correct order)

Precious Things
Cornflake Girl
Bells For Her
Happy Phantom
Hey Jupiter
Jackie's Strength
Space Dog
1st encore:She's Your Cocaine
Raspberry Swirl
2nd encore:Horses

My friend Lois,who I also went to the Fillmore show with, got a setlist from one of the crew and it showed that instead of Jupiter, she was going to do Twinkle, and for the 2nd encore was going to do Pandora and not Horses.

Sorry I'm not full of detail but maybe I'll send in a review later. There is just too much to say!

Thanks for doing such a great job on the web site! I check it out almost everyday but have never written in...

From geymonc

September 16, 1998 - Tori's voice, awesome! The band, tight! The stage show, beautiful! The crowd, considerate and laid back! The sound, TOO LOUD! There were points where the music merged into a loud booming noise and you couldn't separate the instruments much less Tori's vocals. Seeing that she is improvising a lot it would have been a lot nicer to be able to hear this well. I don't blame the band or Tori, they were all obviously performing beautifully. I blame the sound crew. This is a complex and unique concert they're putting on and one would think that the sound crew would be able to realize that with the volume up to the level it was the sound was bouncing off the walls of the auditorium and distorting into noise what I'm sure were powerful pieces of music. It's too bad, I was disappointed with that. But, when this wasn't happening they sounded wonderful. Her voice was strong and beautiful and she played Happy Phantom! One of my personal favs and one I never really expected to hear her perform live. That was a treat. Actually, she played everything I wanted to hear, I almost felt like I could predict the next tune and there were a couple times that I did. That was awesome, she was awesome. Thanks Tori! It's just a shame that her beautiful voice and dynamic piano playing got so distorted by the volume. I honestly felt that I was sitting in a cloud of noise from time to time and I kept wondering what the sound people were thinking down below. Surely they picked up on this. One would think. That's my only criticism. Otherwise, Tori and the band were fantastic. And if anyone in the sound crew happens to run across this critique allow me to suggest that lowering things a few decibels isn't going to kill the performance, it's going to enhance it. Less is more.

From Robyn Wandzell

September 16, 1998 - Tori did She's your Cocaine with Sweet Leaf by Black Sabbath thrown in the middle!!!

She had a little stuffed animal i think she called "dipsy" but i don't remember...she was so cute!! She wore a sparkly red long dress/apron over black pants and shirt.

I don't know if this has been a regular thing [Note From Mikewhy: It is!] but Matt put on these little glowing antennae things for Raspberry was great!

Anyway, I'm exhausted and i have to rest up to make it to Sacramento tomorrow.

From Bob Remillard

September 16, 1998 - Tori and her band put on a very impressive show. Tori was in excellent voice (her vocal range is truly amazing and she really showed her chops on songs like Hey Jupiter and Cornflake Girl). She also seemed to be really enjoying herself on stage.

I was really happy with the song selection, especially the inclusion of Space Dog. I really love that song and they played the heck out of it.

From Julie

September 16, 1998 - heres a set list but i am sure many beat me to the punch since i had to drive 21/2 hours home on a i just met tori high....whew..and it was such dumb luck..anyway enough of my gloating precious things
cornflake girl
bells for her
happy phantom (solo)
hey jupiter (solo)
jackies strength...which was one of my albums least favorites..was
probably the best song of the night
space dog...absolutely of my three favorites
the waitress

shes your cocaine
rasberry swirl (sounded like the professional widow remix in the
beginning, but there was an awesome light show)

second encore

well i need to get some z for tommorows show...let ya know how it goes

From Ethan W. Shvartzman

September 16, 1998 - precious things
introduction of the band
10 notes from not for the red baron
cfg with great improv
bells for her ( she said it wsa for her best friend)
5 notes from little amstredam/ sugar
telebaby improv/happy phantom (rocked)
hey jupiter(fucked up did last verse twice)
jackie's strength
Space Dog
The WAitress
she is your cocaine
rasberrry swirl

good show. not her best

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