North American Plugged '98 Tour
Tori performed in Los Angeles. CA on September 22, 1998 at the Greek Theatre during the main North American leg of her Plugged '98 tour. This was the first of two nights at the Greek.
Tori performed Me and a Gun and Winter solo. Special thanks to Kim. H. who called me from LA with the set list, and to Matt H. & Marianne who was the first to email me the set list.
The most recently added reviews are first.
From Kathy Chin
October 1, 1998 - It's 12:50 am now and I just came home from watching an incredibly energetic and memorable performance by Tori and her band at the Greek Theatre. Tori sounds like such a rock and roll gig with her new band. The lights, smoke, her strong voice and incredible energy lit up the stage and the whole auditorium. Girls walked around with glitters on their faces and wings on their backs. Very angelic. People were having a great time. I've always liked Tori but I've only seen her perform live twice. The first time was in a parking lot in Hollywood a few months ago.
I liked all her songs tonight. She improvised with her band on "Cruel" and it sounded incredible in conjunction with the lights and smoke emitting from the stage. It's better than I've ever heard it. I appreciate all the rhythm and beat that her band brings to her music. Now I can sway my hips and dance to it.
The one song that especially stood out for me tonight was "Me and a Gun". She sang it in a storytelling way, poignantly and honestly. She said a fan requested it and that she doesn't sing it much anymore. "It's just one of those things," she muttered quietly as though to herself, but yet amplified loudly enough for her fans to hear. I knew what she meant. Some things we just rather put behind us and move on.
As she sang the song, couched over and straddling the bench that sit between her piano and digital keyboard, she retold the story of her rape. She seemed to move back and forth to keep herself in rhythm because this was just between her and her audience. She had no accompaniment as her band had left the stage and she was not playing her piano. It was extremely effective and personal even though I was sitting in the C section towards the back. Nonetheless, her voice resonated through the open auditorium and her every word pierced through me. Her voice, at once sad, angry, defiant and triumphant, evoked that wide range of emotions within me.
The audience was attentive and quiet and shared in the moment with Tori. Tears streamed steadily and uncontrollably down my face as Tori recounted her experience. It was such a catharsis. I could feel that the women to the right of me and to the left of my boyfriend were also crying as I noticed them wiping their eyes and face intermittently as Tori retold her story. Someone in the audience had wanted or needed to hear the song but I didn't know I had needed to too.
I heard what she sang about but it was me that I cried for. She touched me deeply when she recounted that she was thinking of Carolina and the sweet things she remembered about it as the man unzipped his pants. Tori's story took me back to my night of despair and desperation. I was raped by a UCLA student while I was attending UCLA a few years ago. As he pinned me down on the bed with his hands and legs, I too was thinking about home that night, my mother in particular, and if I will ever see her again. Wishing and praying that I could be home again.
As Tori sang, I could tell that she hadn't forgotten about her rape and still could get back to that moment and place. When our lives were in someone else's hands and could have ended in a matter of seconds, do we dare forget?
It was around the time I was raped that I really understood and felt what Tori sang about in her songs and really appreciated her work and strength in coming forward about her experience. I felt like she spoke to me directly and honestly. Yes, me alone, as each woman may feel. She guided me towards womanhood. She taught me to be a strong woman and not be afraid of authority or anyone else who threatens to silence me.
Tori channels her energy and passion and shares her painful experience through her songs whereas I write about mine. I think it's so important for us to gain the strength to break the silence and be our own women and "no one else's girl," as Tori would put it.
Thanks Tori for showing me the way.
(Thanks James for introducing me to her music and taking me to her concert tonight. It was very memorable and special, as you can tell.)
From Rojeania Godsey-Erb
September 24, 1998 - I thought I'd try to pound out a review for you while it's still somewhat fresh in my mind. First of all, I have to say, Tori is all grown up. It's official, she's a rock star and I couldn't be happier for her.
Tori opened with Precious Things, which was probably the best part of the show. I think that's probably because of all the build up while we were waiting, and as my husband said, all the lights made you actually "feel" the music. I just so psyched when she finally came out.
Then came Little Amsterdam. I was glad to hear her play this since it's one of my favorites from BFP. Then she launched into Iieee. This was one of the best songs in the set in my opinion. It ran a lot longer than the album version, but I was quite happy with that.
Cornflake Girl made an appearance after that, which I could have done without. Cornfake Girl is cool, but there's other goodies on UTP that I would have rather heard. On the other hand, my husband was excited to hear it.
Spark. Wow. That's all I can say. I've totally loved this song since I first heard it and hearing it live, Wow. It was even better than I would have hoped.
After she finished spark when she started to play again, there was a problem with the speakers. They were making this sort of popping sound. It was really loud and Tori kind jumped, and said something like, "What is that? That scared the shit out of me." While they checked into the problem, Tori chatted with us a bit. She put on some lip gloss, and explained to us that the Greek wouldn't let them bring their own speakers and "Theirs are fucked."
Soon they straightened the problem out, and Tori began playing Bells For Her. I really don't care for this song much, but it gave me a new appreciation for it seeing it live. It really is amazing seeing how much of herself she puts into everything.
This is when the band left. Tori spoke again and said that someone had asked her to play this song, though it's one that she doesn't play much anymore. She said sometimes songs just go away and she doesn't know why. It was Me And A Gun. There was one guy that felt the need to be screaming something, but I think the people around him must have beaten him up, 'cause that didn't last long. All in all, I was surprised that so many people could be that quite. They were all really respectful. Tori did this song last tour, and to me, it seemed that it wasn't nearly as painful for her to do it this time around.
Next she played Winter. I was so thrilled to hear her play this and it was so beautiful. I told myself before I went that if she played Winter or Mother then I would be the happiest person in the crowd. I was.
The band came back and they played Jackie's Strength and Cruel. Awesome. Just awesome. These are my favs from the new album. I know, I keep saying that about everything, but I love them all...
Little Earthquakes was a nice surprise. Hearing that song made me wish I was able to have seen her back in the LE days. I also hadn't heard this song at all for some time because my CD has a scratch in it and LE always starts skipping ( I know, I need to pick up another copy).
Then they played The Waitress. I heard someone report that they didn't like this song, but I love it. It seemed like she was really having fun with this number.
During the first encore they did Sugar. I was so happy to hear this one. Then she launched into Raspberry Swirl, which brought everyone to their feet. This is one album that you have to move to and RS in the very core of that.
For the second encore, they came out and played Horses, which was so cool. It seemed to me that it was a new version, but I really thought it was perfect to close the show with.
I hope I didn't leave out anything. After the show, I made my way as fast as I could to the meet and greet. By the time I got there, there was about three rows (if you can call them that) in front of me. I didn't think I'd be able to talk to her or even get anything signed from where I was, but I wanted to stay so I could see her. After waiting awhile, I decided to put my husband in front of me because he's taller and has longer arms. :-) Sure enough, he was able to reach my tour book to her and she signed it.
Mind you, my husband has never been a Tori fan at all. He's always told me I'm obsessive, but that little encounter changed him. He says to me afterward, "When she handed me that book back, all I could say was thank you. She smiled at me and it's like her eyes looked right through to me." Ever since, he's been running around here listening to Tori and trying to learn the songs. It's nice to know I was finally able to convert him...
All in all, I thought the set list was good and the show was great. I heard somewhere on the net several days ago, that Tori seemed to be having trouble with her voice. She's doing much better now and sounds wonderful, though I know she really has to strain to be heard over the band. Now if only I could have gone to the second show...
From Justin Kittzman
September 24, 1998 - You can also find this review at Justin's Web Site.
The Greek show was much like that of the first time one has sex. There was a long and almost painful anticipation; A few mistakes, And I crescendo of climax's that leaves one speechless and almost empty with the feeling of the lack of true closure.
From the time the tickets went on sale, and the seconds after that I bought mine, I was looking to ensure a ride to the show. Monday I almost gave myself an ulcer truing to find a ride. (This is the third meet and greet that I have been to where Tori has missed me. I tried to get one of the postcards from the Spark single signed and failed. If anyone would be kind enough to want to try to get it signed for me I will gladly snail mail it to them if they give me their mailing address via email, Tanawts@mailexcite.com)
After the hectic time of getting to the concert we found our seats and the show started with an electrifying Precious Things. A wonderful beginning to the concert, next was Little Amsterdam (which I was surprised, but delighted to hear.) Little A was great live and with the band, if Tori keep's faerie's with her, they were with her at this show. The lighting was just right so it looked like there were little wisps flying through the mist above Tori. Before I could decipher that the next song was Bells for Her, the speakers cracked. Tori tried to ignore it but finally looked up at the crowd and said, "I have always wanted to meet god. Are we under attack?" And stopped the song with a very spiced question about why the speakers weren't working. She explained that the theater didn't let her use her speakers and that these one's were "f*cked"!
After Bell's for Her was I think it was Cornflake Girl, I haven't slept the past three days so that I could find a ride so my memory is kinda shot. It started with a wonderful intro and was surprisingly better than the version she played at the bowl. After Cornflake Girl was Iieee. The instruments stood out and were independent of each other while still coming together to my a sweet mixture of sounds that make up the song. After Iieee was Spark. It was great and just as the last concert, the crowd roared at its finish. Next was secret time. She sat up straight on her bench and I knew what was coming by the first thick breath she took. My eyes were wet and my knee's were weak. She said that someone requested this song and she doesn't do it much anymore because, "well just because people stop playing songs for reasons." By the first note of that acapella song I was beside myself. Tears now streaming down my face, I couldn't believe Tori was going to do it. There were a few too many uncalled-for and rude comments and un-needed cheering when Tori sang, "buttoned down his pants." I was heartbroken by the crowd but I tried to ignore them and devote my attention to the faerie on stage. Tori started to get a little choked up by the end of the song, which I had expected. The next gift from her was Winter. After hearing it I was speechless. My eyes are welling up right now just recalling the experience. It was by far the most beautiful song I have heard her sing live. Other songs make you think or make you tap your foot or just make you cry. This one was so special I was to stunned to do anything of the aforementioned. I had a very special girlfriend who was claimed by the cold waters of Colorado in front of me...during that song I knew she was there with Tori and me. When the song was over I was in a cold sweat and my eyes were sore from holding back the tears.
When Winter was over, the boys came back and (I think) they started in on Little Earthquakes. Please forgive me if I have gotten a lot of the songs out of order, I do promise that the summarization I give of them is accurate however. Little Earthquakes added to the anticipation of the grand finale. Cruel was next, I song I hoped she would sing. Jackie's Strength came after signaling that time was running thin.
The Waitress started, and I knew the time was coming for me to get ready to make a dash to the meet and greet. After The Waitress everyone gave a standing ovation and Tori came out to do one of my favorite songs. I was so pleased to hear her do that as an encore.
Raspberry Swirl followed and everyone stood up to either dance or sway to the music and Horses marked the end of the show.
This is the third meet and greet that I have been in the front where Tori has missed me. I tried to get one of the postcards from the Spark single signed and failed. If anyone would be kind enough to want to try to get it signed for me I will gladly snail mail it to them if they give me their mailing address via email, Tanawts@mailexcite.com
From Michelle (Spacefrog) Rittel (posted to the rec.music.tori-amos newsgroup)
September 24, 1998 - Just got in. I had a very happy evening :)
I missed the opening band, mostly due to crappy parking and poor planning on the part of the Greek Theater.
Precious Things: Wow (I'll probably say that a lot) For those worried about her voice, don't be. She sounded great, from start to finish. This song is really amazing with the band. I was very happy.
Little Amsterdam: The band really added something to this one, too. I was really pleased 'cause it's one of my favorites from BfP and I had heard she wasn't playing many BfP songs.
Iieee: Longer than the recorded version. She did that tummy grab thing during the "sacrifice" part at the end.
Finally, she speaks. She asked how we were and introduced her "brothers".
Cornflake Girl: Started off with something like "you swear to Christ you won't", different than I've heard her in the past.
Spark: The keyboard effects were pretty good. Then came the "the speakers are kind of fucked" part. It was pretty funny. They started playing and it sounded like there were explosions. Tori explained that the Greek won't allow them to bring their own speakers. While she waited, she said she was going to put on some lip gloss. She got a laugh from us. They fixed the problem after a couple of minutes.
Bells for Her: My least favorite off UtP, however I really liked it tonight. The band made it much more listenable for me.
The band leaves. Tori speaks (the only major speaking tonight) and says that she hasn't done this song in awhile and says that sometimes songs just go away, she doesn't know why.
Me and a Gun: She has played this at every show I've seen. The audience was very quiet (I was impressed), more so than the last time I saw her. It was very emotional.
Winter: Wow. Beautiful. And she seemed really emotional during this one, too.
The band returns
Jackie's Strength: The echo thing on some of the vocals was cool.
Cruel: Amazing energy during this one. I really liked it. Much better than the album version.
Little Earthquakes: I love this song. It was even better with the band
The Waitress: The intro is great. The song is a little long, but it sounded great.
Then hugs with the band and grabbing hands with fans. Then off.
Encore 1: Sugar!!!!!: I was sooo excited. Wow. It sounds completely different with the band. Wow.
Raspberry Swirl: The only dance time of the evening. Sounded pretty good. Nothing spectacular. Off again.
Encore 2: Horses: The lighting is fantastic, especially with the disco balls. This was the first time I had heard the new version. I really liked it. It had a very different feel
General comments: They need to give Caton back his stool. The boy is living out his rock'n'roll fantasy and it's really not that attractive. Tonight was black jeans and t-shirt and dark glasses night. During JS, he was doing his best impression of his best Keith Richardson, with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth. Sit him down already.
I liked the band. I miss the "girl and her piano" but I think the new show brings out "the pieces of her we've never seen". It works for me.
The show was only 90 minutes, 15 songs. Didn't sound like she was having any trouble with her voice and she did not look exhausted, as has been reported previously. I would have liked a longer show. She loves the Greek and I have to say that it loves her, too.
One thing I missed: I wanted to hear Liquid Diamonds, so I was a little bummed. But not much, 'cause I got to hear Sugar.
From michelle felix
September 23, 1998 - forgive the slight incoherence of this message as i only got 3 hours of sleep. i disagree with those who said the show was weak. even though it was my second tori show (the first being the kroq breakfast thing- hi nghia!) i must say that this performance did something to me. when she came out i couldn't laugh, i couldn't cry, i could only stare and marvel. i was completely enraveled in her starting tune. hearing "precious things" on a crisp, cold night with 5000 other people was something i fell in love with immediately. before the show i ran into sir caton and i asked him to sign my journal. he was so kind and obliging. then i handed him a sealed letter to give to tori. such a nice guy, that caton. anyhow, the girls sitting to my left had binoculars and were kind enough to let me look through them. thanks leslie and tracy!!! i peeked through them during "me and a gun." i figured that getting to watch her closely, especially then, was a sight to behold. i could tell it took a lot to perform that song. i truly appreciated the silence of the theater at this point. during "winter" i didn't have the binocs and i was dying to know if she was crying. i thought she was. someone out there can confirm that. i wanted "raspberry" to be louder, but i still enjoyed it. i, like most people, was pleasantly surprised to hear "bells" and "amsterdam." i wildly applaud the band. i don't think any group of musicians could compliment her the way caton, matt, and jon do. the sound was very strong. at the end of the show i headed towards the buses, but i only caught sight of the flaming hair before she jumped into the limo. maybe next time, eh? all in all, i had a fabulous time, i will never, ever forget it. i would give the set list except pretty much everyone else has. i would like to give extra big fat sugar-coated special thanks to jennifer and stephanie who gave me a lift home. i owe you!!! tori is my mom.
September 23, 1998 - The first LA show at the Greek was an entirely different experience for me [compared to the earlier Santa Barbara show.] I was in the third row center of section B and all of the hoopla going on really detracted from the experience for me. Maybe its becuase I had never seen her in this large of a venue...maybe it was becuase all of those huge balloons flying around were blocking my view (why would anyone want to encourage these things that distract one from the music and watching TORI??)...maybe it was just too damn loud and Tori's voice and piano got lost in all that LOUDNESS...The lighting and the other rock n roll antics seemed to lend intensity to the santa barbara show, but last night I was shocked to find myself feeling disgusted and embarassed and angry that I couldn't hear tori, I could see Tori, I just felt like she got lost in there somewhere. I was filled with rage when I heard some very disrespectful male concert goers cheer when she sang "buttoned down his pants" during Me and a Gun. Not to mention the amount of people coming and going for beer and cigarettes and whatever during this, and all of the other songs as well. (I could almost swear that the very first Tori show I attended only a handful of people left their seats the entire time, and there was no talking either!) Anyhow, during her solo performance of Winter I was watching her through the binoculars and when she started to cry I just lost it. I know that this song is about her father, but she started crying when she sang "things are gonna change so fast..." and I started to cry becuase I felt like she was talking about the way the music has changed, the shows have changed, the audiences have changed, not too mention the commercialization and all the rest of it. But with the speaker glitch (which i loved, as any fan would) and singing Me and a Gun for the first time on the tour, and her prior statement when she introduced the band about how it had been "a funny day today" I felt that there was some wierd kind of shit going on in her head and I found myself saying to her in my head when she starting crying to just hang on...which i was also saying to myself of course. What I mean is, for me to hang on to what is special and sacred about Tori's art for me, and to not be so hurt and depressed by the way it seems cheapened when everyone around is acting like this is just another concert...any old concert...I WISH I COULD BETTER EXPRESS THESE FEELINGS!!! Anyhow, I have loved Tori's music for so long and I left that show feeling angry and sad about the disrespect of this crowd, and also the lack of intimacy and closeness I felt with her lyrics, her piano music, and with her. I am still faithful and I know that as an artist and a person she needs to grow and change so I will continue to experience whatever new things she tries, BUT I don't feel like she can shine the way she should, nor that her message gets through in this type of show or venue (UNLESS you are down front and center, are able to look into her eyes, and much of the spectical goes right over your head!) Hers is not the kind of music that needs to be loud to make its point. In fact, it is powerful exactly for that reason, as well as for its honesty and integrity.
From Shanie (posted to the Precious-Things mailing list)
September 23, 1998 - Wow . . . I just literally just got home, and WOW! I'm physically exhausted, I screamed myself hoarse, I'm out about $40 bucks more, but I had a blast at the show tonight!
Not much to say about the Devlins . . . I liked them well enough, but they're not really my major type of music, so . . . I have to admit I spent more time trying through my binoculars to examine their guitars (not an easy task as I was literally up smack against the back wall at the Greek Theatre, albeit pretty much dead center). Cool lighting, they sounded good. I might get their CD sometime.
I might be missing a couple of songs, but the bulk of the setlist is as follows, with my comments:
Precious Things -- the opening number. Incredible. Caton, Matt, and Jon came out first and built up a long electric crescendo that led to Tori coming out on stage to insanely wild cheers, sitting down, and playing the opening piano riff. Very powerful; I liked it better this time around than I did back in May at the Sneak Preview show.
Little Amsterdam -- With the band, this song turned out pretty interestingly! I never really liked it all that much but it had a great groove going on tonight.
At this point Tori stopped to introduce the band; she referred to Matt as "this creature over here who bangs on things," which I found highly amusing. Then, on to the next . . .
i i e e e -- Wow. This one was awesome. Tori included an improv section in the middle that I can't really remember, but it had something to do with her daughter, I think; she was improving off the "why does there gotta be a sacrifice?" line, and I caught the phrase "my little girl" in there.
Bells for Her -- The sound system at the Greek decided to crash the party at this point; Tori started playing the piano intro, and all of a sudden a huge burst of crackling static filled the arena. She stopped and muttered, "Shit," into the microphone, then started again, only to have another burst of static interrupt her. She stopped again, asked, "Oh fuck, what was that?" and looked offstage, asking "Should I go on? Or should I stop until someone tells me what to do?" She turned to the audience and said, "I'm waiting for someone to tell me what to do, so you guys won't have to put up with that horrible noise. See, the problem is, these aren't our speakers . . . we really should have brought our speakers out because theirs are kind of fucked." She went on (after another bit of static), "You know, I always wanted God to come down . . . not like this though . . . I've been saving a margarita for him for three years, I think it's getting kind of gross now, but I still have it in . . . my . . . bag." About this time she got a message saying that the sound was fixed and she could go on, so she started up on the song again. How totally different from the Under the Pink version! With the band backing her up, the song had a driving rhythm and a very dark, sinister groove to it that I really enjoyed. I'm not sure if I like it better than the original version, but it was definitely an intense version.
Secret Time . . . "the boys go away"
Tori started out Secret Time by saying, "I don't do this song much any more . . . there are some songs you just stop doing for various reasons." (On a slightly off note, it reminded me of how Amy Ray of Indigo Girls won't sing "Blood and Fire" any more because she doesn't want to revisit the emotions that went into the writing of that song.) I was halfway amused, halfway annoyed at this point when someone screamed, "I want to have your children!" into the silence. (It was a girl.) Tori stopped and said, "You know . . . that's a really good idea." Anyway, at this point she launched into "Me and a Gun."
Wow. People have discussed the intimacy of Tori's performance being lost at these larger venues, but as far as I'm concerned, the intimacy will exist as long as Tori continues to have her talent for making the listener feel as though she is speaking directly to him or her. Even from the very last row, this song gave me chills. The last three lines were barely whispered, as though Tori were crying (I couldn't see clearly enough to tell), and it had impact I can't even begin to describe. (Though I would have gladly hit whoever it was that screamed right after "And do you know Carolina . . . ")
Winter -- Beautiful. Just beautiful. I was crying too hard during the song to remember much of the details, though.
At this point the boys came back.
They launched into a wonderful bluesy jazzed-up version of "Cornflake Girl," with Caton playing a Gibson Les Paul that I was absolutely drooling over. (I may be wrong about this song's place in the order, though.) Tori started it off with a short a cappella intro that began "You bet your life it is . . ." and went on to something like "You swear to Christ she won't, not on your life she won't . . ."
At this point my memory starts to fail me and my fatigue starts to set in, so in no particular order, the other songs (though as I said I may have forgotten a couple) included Spark (loved the lighting on this song), Jackie's Strength (with a great echo part on the chorus and Jon's upright bass sounding beautiful), Cruel (incredible lighting, she did that great crossed-wrists dance on the piano bench, the bass was pounding).
The Waitress -- I know for sure this song was second-to-last, not counting encores. I will never again decide to pick up my binoculars and try and look at Tori when the lighting is going as nuts as it was on this song. I loved it; it was darker, more intense, with greater contrast between the verses and chorus than the album version.
Little Earthquakes -- Not much different that comes to mind here; the intro with the band was wonderfully ominous, though. After this song Tori headed offstage, and as I held my poor Zippo lighter, with its burning-out wick and dwindling fuel supply, up in the air and cheered, she and the band came back out.
Sugar -- I love this song with the band; it's more upbeat and at the same time more sinister than the recorded version. I miss some of the more intimate, tranquil feel of the original, but still, this version was great.
Raspberry Swirl -- What a burst of energy! All of us in the back row were up on the bench dancing like mad. (I almost fell off the bench several times.) The lights were all over the place so you could barely see the people onstage, Matt was wearing those cute antennae with the glowing balls on the ends and going absolutely nuts on the drums.
Horses -- I used to not like this new version of Horses, and I still prefer the album version for its simplicity and acoustic intensity, but I've gained a lot of appreciation for this version. There were mirror balls spinning in spotlights in several places onstage, and people dancing. This arrangement lends a very dark cast to the song; I rather like it.
After this, the lights came back up and we all very reluctantly went home . . .
September 23, 1998 - I have to agree with some of the early reviews--it was a good show, but Tori was obviously low (perhaps not completely sad or completely angry or completely anything--just a mixture of all of it) and this was reflected in the performance and the vibe the music was throwing. It seemed melancholy and yearning and hurting and brooding--at times, I had chills more from the feeling emanating from the stage than from anything else. But if she was going to be low, the woods were the place for it--I felt like something was crouching during the whole show over my shoulder, waiting to spring when the music was gone.
But read on...
Little Amsterdam (really bluesy, drawled out and groovy)
iieee (strong and sharp and loud)
Cornflake Girl (led into this one with a little improv--I was in the center in the high level seat, so I was having a little trouble hearing, but it was something to the effect of "she's not so tough after all")
Spark (slow, really _thick_ beat--I really enjoy this song and was enthusiastic about it when it hit the airwaves, but it was something of a come-down after Cornflake Girl--and I wasn't ready yet!)
Bells For Her (it was wonderful to hear this again--the last tour I was able to attend was Under The Pink and this brought back some memories--it was very sad, last night, very desperate and more a mourning than it seemed on UTP)
Me And A Gun ("Someone asked me to do this one tonight...and, well, I used to do this one a lot, but sometimes you stop singing songs for a reason and this is one of them, but we'll see...[sic]" Tori and the microphone--and it just seems to rip out of her. The weird distinction between the older and newer fan bases that I had been feeling all night became more obvious on this one, when the 15 year old's behind me started whispering "Which one is this? What is she doing?" "Is this new?" in the middle of the first line. I have no issues with the newer fans--it was just hard to fathom going to one of her performances never having heard "Me And A Gun". This was very raw and seemed to take a lot out of her.)
Winter (this one started fine, but in the middle, she seemed to skip two lines. At first, we thought her voice had temporarily given out, but a friend of mine insists that she was softly crying. When she picked up the next lines, her voice was very thin and soft and shaky. This seemed to confirm the dark vibe that had been hanging around the stage all night--perhaps the trees, perhaps the darkness (although the stars were out, which is rare in LA), perhaps the speakers threatening to blow out after the first two songs. Whatever it was, the break in the middle of Winter seemed a part of it as well.)
Jackie's Strength (very quiet and easy on this one--she seemed to be building back after Winter slowly but surely)
Cruel (My favorite from "Choirgirl" and she gave a remarkable performance on this one--very strong--she seemed to be taunting, warning and flirting with the crowd all at the same time--it was so powerful, I thought for sure it was the finale...) Little Earthquakes (...but I was wrong...she was low and growly on this one, letting herself slip in and out of drawls and purrs and the crescendos in the background were so full they sounded like gongs and kettle drums).
The Waitress (Tori and the boys rocked out on this one--all of the flame in the way she moved over the keys and the high, screaming, choruses lifted the darkness and took the crowd all the way up. It was long and the "hang ten" portion seemed to spiral on forever. A fitting end to the set).
Sugar (I was so thrilled to hear the opening beats of this song--it's one of my absolute favorites and, since they're pretty much all B-Sides or at the very least, the quiet, weird little girls that don't come out all that often (like Yes, Anastasia), I had given up on hearing any of them at the show. Sugar was made for a band--the drums and bass emphasized the throbbing that makes the song so visceral in the first place. She threw in the "What do you think they'll do when they find out you're just a pussy, boy?" and a cheer went up from the crowd down front).
Raspberry Swirl (glow-in-the-dark deelyboppers and all--this song really brought the audience to its feet, and the band seemed to really feed off of that energy. Tori rocked out once more, and it seemed like this was the way she wanted to play when she was listening to Jimmy Page long ago).
I wanted to get the release poster that I managed to get off the wall at the Tempo near USC (I asked if they would give it to me when they were done with the promotions--they gave it to me then and there, which was a shock, but they assured me they were putting up another, which they did) signed, but the vibe threw me off slightly. I waited with my friends where everyone was gathered against the rail outside of her blue tour bus, but finally drove home, as I somehow didn't feel "right" waiting for an autograph that particular night. The show, with all of its quirks and strange vibes and beauty and darkness and trees and stars was enough.
You should have been there. =)
From Javier C.
September 23, 1998 - I thought it was great. I though the entire set, from the Devlins to Tori singing Sugar was one of the best concerts I've been to this year. Aside from a small problem with the theatre's speakers (Tori said the people at the Greek didn't allow them to use their speakers and now we were all "ficked" because of it), the show was an experience I will not soon forget. The great version of Waitress blew my mind. Tori can rock with the best of them. THe tearful Me And A Gun was a sight and sound to behold. No one could have pulled of the honesty and wonder of the song. No one, except Tori. The band. The guys were awesome. Matt on drums was in a world of his own it seemed like. The whole group, including Tori, worked far better than a well oiled machine. One thing Mike, if you post this, and Tori, if you read this, tell CAton to not try to dance. He's a great guitar player for sure, but dancing isn't his forte.
Anyway, the show was spectacular and I cannot wait for the next.
From Stefan Caiafa
September 23, 1998 - Little Amsterdam had an improv start where Tori sang about an angel and going to a dreamland. Iieee had an extra piano solo 3/4 through the song. Before Cornflake girl started she sang "You bet your life it is" a few times and a few other lyrics... can't remember them. After Spark the loudspeakers started f***ing up, every time Tori played on the piano these loud (very loud) bangs came across. Tori asked "should I just keep playing?" Needless to say the audience roared "yes". SHe tried playing but the speakers started banging again. Then Tori asked "Should we call someone to see what the fuck is going on?" Audience roared. Tori then said "You know I've always wanted God to visit us" (in reference to how loud and powerful the bangs were). Audience laughed, then roared. Finally the problem stopped and Bells for Her started. Before Me And A Gun Tori started saying how someone wanted her to play that song and how she didn't do it that often anymore..."you stop doing songs for reasons..." .Then a girl in the audience yelled "I want to have your children" Audience laughed. TOri said "YOu know what, that's a really good idea" audience laughed then roared. Winter was done solo. Jackie's Strength had the full band again. Cruel seemed extra heavy on the guitars. Little Earthquakes was amazing. The Waitress had the extra verse at the bridge part (well, it's not technically an extra verse but she had a variation of the "I believe in peace bitch"...well maybe it was an extra verse. I don't know. Someone shed some light on this. Anyway. First encore started with Sugar, which was played as the studio version and with the extra "when they find you're just sugar" verse at the end. Raspberry Swirl was the Lipgloss version. The drummer had a helmet with lights on and the stage lights were all disco-like. I love this song live. Second encore she played a mellowed and slower version of Horses (it was also much shorter). There were five huge mirror balls (the disco balls with tons of little mirrors on them, you know what I mean) hanging around the stage with white light shining on them. It looked really beautiful and angelic. Tori was wearing black hotpants ?? and top and had a silver sparkling waitress cloth thing tied on (I forgot what they're called).
Anyway, all in all a great concert... but I've seen stronger Tori performances. The audience remained seated except for Raspberry Swirl which is rather disappointing. People in LA don't know how to attend concerts.
Well, these were my two cents.
From Brian Michael Weidemann
September 23, 1998 - I just got back from my incredible experience at the Greek earlier this evening. First of all, this is an incredible venue to see her in. It's only about 5000 seats, which yields the more "intimate" setting she achieved on her previous tours, but it fits her new full band effort incredibly as well.
As for the show... Oh My God! This is the best version of Precious Things I could ever have hoped to hear. As far as I'm concerned, they could have closed the show with the exact same thing and not lost any of the impact. Several things occured to me during the entire show. This band that Tori's assembled is capable of so much more than just accompanying her. I saw the band as one where each member could take a solo at a part in the show--they could pull it off very well. I would love to see Caton doing an all-out, show-stopping solo, really showing what he can do. But I don't think this would really fit--Tori is the headliner. The event isn't billed as Tori's Band. So, because their role is to back up Tori, they only can show what they've got while enhancing what Tori's got--and we all know what she's got. All in all--they could successfully tour as a whole band, instead of just Tori & Other Musicians as they're kind of expected to be, and be just as awesome--is what I'm saying.
And when she puts out this live album that she says will be her next project, I'll be disappointed if it's anything less than a multi-volume or 3 or 4-disc set. With all the extended versions of songs like iieee, The Waitress, etc. I don't think a single, or even a double, album would be sufficient to hold everything worth hearing--though EVERYTHING she does is, in one way or another, worth hearing. All the material she played, that wasn't originally intended for a full band, worked out so well. The integrity and feeling of each song was retained to what it had from the first time we've heard them. Little Earthquakes was strikingly similar to the recording--which was an amazing feat, however; while Bells For Her, Cornflake Girl, and Sugar--though much different from the versions we're used to--were every bit as identical in feeling to those versions we've heard. I salute them. Musicianship at this level is quite sparse these days, and Tori knows what's up. (To quote Tori from her recent Tonight Show appearance... "Three chords and they think that they're... IT. You know, 'strum strum strum, I know a song. Strum strum strum.'")
I don't remember exactly what order her set-list was in, but I'm sure you'll get a full account of what she played from someone else, so I won't bother trying to recal it exactly. The list wasn't too surprising--there wasn't anything I was particularly shocked to have been on it, at least from what I've read her set-lists have been for other shows this tour. If anything, Bells For Her, Me And A Gun, and Cornflake Girl were the pleasant surprises.
She didn't tell many stories. In fact, I don't think she spoke to the audience at all, with the exception of a couple quick comments here and there, and except for the one notable instance that just doesn't happen every show... As she began Bells For Her (an AMAZING version of it), there was a loud, crackling boom coming from the speakers somewhat randomly. At first, it sounded like a weird effect for the song, but shortly after it started getting annoying, and loud, Tori stopped playing and asked what it was. She didn't know what to do. She asked, in the cutest voice you can imagine, "Marcel, what the fuck is going on?" She didn't seem upset at all, merely confused as to what to do. She mentioned to the audience that the Greek wouldn't let them bring their own speakers, they had to use the ones provided and that "They were fucked." (Excuse the profanity, but Tori said it, not me.) Apparently, they got the problem fixed rather quickly, because she started playing again, without interruption again through the rest of the show. The audience found this quite amusing.
The show was amazing and I won't be forgetting it for quite a while.
As for the Meet & Greet... I showed up with my friend about noon, or so. There was a small group already waiting. It was fairly organized because they wrote numbers on our hands to keep the order consistent. We waited. To keep this rather brief, at maybe 4:30 or so (I don't remember) we were informed she would be stopping soon. We gathered along the gate and waited some more. I was about 3 or 4 people back from the front. Her limo pulled up. Her door opened. I could see her take one last sip from a water bottle, and she got out. I was snapping pictures on my overpriced, disposable camera like crazy. She came over and made her way along the gate. Only the people in the front were capable of having pictures taken with her--which was disappointing, because she apparently knew and recognized most of them already, and I (never having met, talked with, or been photographed with her) was stuck just a few rows shy of having the opportunity. Oh well, for there will be more chances in the future. When she was at a position closest to me, I had my offering held out for her. I'm rather tall, so she didn't have any problem seeing me trying to hand her things. Before I knew it, she was taking them from me. I had a small stack of papers consisting of poetry/songs I've written for/about her and photocopies of some of my drawings (all of which are posted at http://iieee.home.ml.org/drawings/drawings.htm) for her to have, and the original of one of my favorite drawings (http://iieee.home.ml.org/drawings/ta9807e.jpg) I've done of her which she was to sign for me.
She was bombarded with things to sign, so my offerings made it to the bottom of what she was carrying. I was worried she would take the drawing unknowingly, but before I could worry too much... she holds up the small stack in one hand, the drawing in the other, looks at me and really cutely asks, "What did you want me to do with these?" I uttered that she was to keep the stack and please sign the drawing. She asked if I drew the picture to which I said yes. The people around me ooh'd and aah'd (or maybe I just imagined it) And then Tori (This is the part I'll never forget!) told me that she thought I was very talented, signed the drawing (really small at the bottom), and handed it back to me. After that, all I'm aware of is that she continued down the line, and left back to where her limo was pulled over. My friend and I left (in awe), ate lunch, and came back to attend the concert. I purchased a program and a t-shirt. Oh wow, what an amazing day. (This was the briefest I could have put it.)
Anyway, so there's my account, if you've enjoyed reading it. I'll talk to you later. Tori forever.
September 23, 1998 - tori seemed upset about something, when she played me and a gun and winter she seemed like she was crying or at least very upset. i thought bells, me and a gun, iieee, waitress and sugar were highlights. i dont know...the show was of course incredible, but not the best ive seen. there were some troubles, and she was kinda funny about them saying "what is that" and a later "what the fuck is that?!? im just going to sit here til someone tells me what to do. i'll just put on some lip gloss" (someone had given her lipgloss earlier at the meet and greet :)
From Chucky K.
September 23, 1998 - Tori was so into it tonight! What a setlist! This show was just incredible. The highlight for me was when she announced to the crowd that she was going to do a song that she hadn't done in a while but was requested by someone....Me And A Gun! I told myself from the beginning of it that "I Wasnt Going To Cry" but right when she sang "FLAT on your stomach" the tears started to stream. I and a few others gave Tori a standing ovation for that only to be surprised again by her going straight into Winter!!! Then Jackie's Strength!!
The songs seemed to be in perfect order tonight. It was quite a show. It was nice to hear Sugar and Bells For Her with the band! Caton was AMAZING on Little Amsterdam! He was also cool dancing along to Spark. What a great intro to Cornflake Girl ("She Swore To Christ She Was")
The funniest part of the show was when the speakers messed up. As she went into Bells For Her, the screaching of the messed up speakers kept interrupting her. She stopped and told us that the Greek Theatre wouldn't let them bring their own speakers and asked "what the fuck" she should do.
This was definately the best concert out of the three southern California shows so far and I even think it was better than the preview show she did back in May in L.A. Well it sure came close. I can't wait to see her top this one tomorrow night. GO TORI (GODDESS OF THE KEYBOARDS)!!!!!
From Matt H. aka mattrix
September 23, 1998 - I just got back from the Greek show tonight. As you can see it is very late now. I had attempted to stay for the end of the show meet and greet, but it was of no avail. So anyways, it was a really weird funky feeling tonight. This was not like any other of the shows that I had been to previously.
This was a really hectic day for me as my car had broken down and then the person I was supposed to go to the show with could not go. This was a very trying day to begin with.
As far as audience, I did feel that a few people in general were rather rude. Not that everyone there was not nice. There were a few people who kept sitting in seats that were not theirs and another guy who kept standing up for the first few songs even after being politely told to sit down.
In the middle of things there was a clicking and humming that was really loud and irritating. Tori then said, what are we going to do while this is acting up. It's the speakers. Well, these aren't our speakers, cause they would not let us use ours. These speakers are fucked up. I had hoped that there would be a things fuck up improv. here but there was no such luck.
This was by far a good show. I just felt a bit weird and was stuck in the middle of other things beyond my control happening. There was a bit of an ominous vibe going around.
Tonight Tori did not even really stop and say hello to the folks after the show. I was hoping to have been lucky to finally see here but that did not happen. I guess she could feel the weirdness in the air as well.
I am going tomorrow and hopefully the yucky vibe will be gone and it can really be a magical show. Unfortunately I will be in the last rows, but nonetheless it will have to be better than tonights show.
Well, I guess I will have to wait and see. I will be going to the show tomorrow.
The only good thing though is that I met a really nice person through the site www.tori.com and she wanted to go to the show but did not have tickets. We ended up on ICQ and I met her at the Greek and sold the ticket for face value. Who says the internet is only good for the lousy Starr report.
Please give me feedback, comments, or suggestions about my site. Email me (Michael Whitehead) at firstname.lastname@example.org