Monday I saw Tori Amos at
The Paramount, Oakland
This was the third time I saw her in concert. The first two times were
both on her Choirgirl Hotel tour, in 1998.
In 1998 I was that guy, one of the dozen or two that spent Halloween
afternoon in the drizzle outside Elliot Hall of
at Purdue for almost six hours, waiting for her bus to arrive so I could
participate in the meet and greet. I clutched my Silent All These
Years single — a
second one, actually, purchased just for the occasion — and listened to
the more wizened Tori-philes describe their first, sixth, tenth,
twentieth concerts. I was a “virgin” and they delighted in explaining
just how amazing my first time would be. Tori arrived, said hello, shock
hands with people and gave hugs. She said something like, “my, aren’t
you a tall one,” and gamely signed my single.
The show at Elliot was indeed amazing. As was the second show I saw her
in, at Dayton, Ohio. Monday she did not disappoint.
At The Paramount she covered the breadth of her catalog, from Precious
Things and Tear in Your Hand from Little
Earthquakes, to the
material from her most recent release, Abnormally Attracted To
even played Siren, a song she contributed to the soundtrack for Great
From the first song to the end of the second encore the audience was
held rapt, almost worshipful. Seeing Tori perform I was reminded how her
music seems to pour out of her. It appears to be an extension of her
mood, her presence on stage, drawing the audience in.
It’s hard not to compare Monday with my previous experiences seeing
Tori. The show was similar to the previous shows in some ways; she
played what I think of as the “live arrangement” of Precious Things,
there was a bit of improv and she played a cover song (in this case she
covered Baby One More Time by Britney Spears). The biggest difference
this time was the audience’s demeanor. The first two times I saw her
perform the audience was on their feet from beginning to end, cheering
and dancing. Monday night The Paramount was almost church-like. People
swayed a bit, mouthed the words and shouted “We love you Tori” at
irregular intervals, but for the most part remained seated, listening attentively.
Sitting there in the dark, I also found myself comparing where I’m at in
life now and where I was the first time. Ten years have past and have
brought a lot of change in my life. Five jobs, two major relationships,
a dozen addresses, and a cross-country move. I sat there in the dark of
the theater Monday contemplating where I was ten years ago, five years
ago. And I found myself grateful that I’ve had this music to accompany
me and to grow with me.
|tags:||calidfornia, concert, east bay, music, oakland, paramount, tori amos