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Tori Amos
A Concert Review

July 19, 1998

The Rosemont Horizon

Rosemont, IL

A Review and Photos by:
The Dude on the Right
In my pre-thoughts for writing this review of Tori Amos at the Rosemont Horizon I almost contemplated pretending I knew Tori songs, Tori attitudes, and just, well, was more familiar with Tori Amos than I am. I knew I could jump on the internet and find a pretty complete set-list of songs that I didn't know, I knew I could look around and find comparisons of past shows with a larger venue show, and then I thought of the die-hard Tori fans I found at the show and I knew I could never even attempt to pull the wool over their eyes, that I would surely write something wrong to show my true lack of knowledge, and that I would be getting mean and nasty e-mails for months to come. Rather than risk the wrath of Tori fans around the world, let me now start my review….

I've got to be honest with you, apart from a few interviews I have skimmed about her, apart from Stu Gotz's review of her show a while ago, and apart from the few radio hits I have heard, I really didn't know much about Tori Amos, or the type of show she would put on as I was going into the Rosemont Horizon for her concert. I can hear all of you Tori fans now, moaning about a know-nothing reviewer going to see your favorite singer, how I should quit writing and get a real job, how I should be more professional and do my homework before seeing a show, how I "just don't understand," or how I just plain suck. Well before you get yourself in a tizzy let me say this - I'm glad I didn't know what to expect, I'm glad I didn't know any of Tori's songs, I'm glad I didn't have any pre-conceived notions of a Tori show, and I'm really glad I went.

Getting to the Rosemont Horizon I realized I was in the minority, namely, I was a guy. I brought along Stu Gotz who is a pretty big Tori fan, and I relieved him of his review duties in case he might get distracted by also being a guy (I feared his head would either explode or he would get whiplash as he spun around in circles happy he was in the minority). And then the show started.

Now one thing I found out early was that this show was at one of the largest venues Tori has ever played, that she played one of my favoritist small venues at one time, namely Schuba's in Chicago, and if she thought about it much she would pee in her pants. I also found out that unlike what Stu said she would do, Tori really didn't talk much at this show. But what she did do was play her piano, and by the end of the show, have me pretty much mesmerized, which, as the show started, I thought there was no way in hell that was going to happen. Here's why…

As I took my seat I could really only think of one thing - "I hope she gets off of that piano bench and sings to the crowd or it's gonna be a long show." I sat there and scribbled in my note pad things like "Too bad the view has her head chopped off by the cover of the piano/I wish I could see her emotions better/The band sounds pretty good, especially for being in the cave that can be the Rosemont Horizon/Disco balls/Oooh, bubble machines!" But as the show continued my notes shifted to things like "She definitely becomes one with that piano/Hmm, a few lighters/there's no way I'll be able to write this without maybe getting wailed on, but figure out how to put down that something else you like about Tori is that she is like your everyday, average girl - nothing spectacular, not a supermodel, but man, she sure has a passion that you can relate to/she can work it even stuck behind a piano probably because the piano seems to be an outflow of the energy she puts out." I sat there now basically mesmerized by songs I had never heard before.

I sat there mesmerized as Tori and her band played songs that ranged from almost soft love songs to one that sounded like it could come straight out of a dance bar; I sat there mesmerized as Tori's voice went from lovely melodies to, well, primal screams; I sat there mesmerized even though I knew I was missing a lot of the messages that the lyrics spoke; and I sat there, not disappointed that I had never seen Tori when she was touring with just her piano (alright, maybe just a little disappointed), but rather imagining in my head her touring with full blown orchestral back-up. Yes, I can appreciate the nuances and intimacy of a lone piano player on stage, and she did work that for a few songs by sending the band away leaving her alone with her keyboard, but in all honestly, I love my senses being bombarded, and Tori with her band did that, all without leaving their pre-determined locations on stage. No obvious posing, no running around, no "You're the best crowd we've ever played in front of" crap, just playing, just passion, and just having mostly sitting there or standing there thinking "Wow."

So, what else can I say? Tori Amos' show had disco balls, had bubbles, had my musical senses mostly bombarded, and damn she can build a song to a crescendo better than just about anyone I have ever seen. I will be putting Tori's CD's on my "to buy" list, I will be finding more information about her songs to get ready for the next show, but this time, I'm really glad I had no idea what to really expect.

So, Tori Amos get TWO BIG OL' MESMERIZED THUMBS UP from me!!! Sometimes it's better going into a show with no clue.

That's it for this one, I'm The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!


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