North American Plugged '98 Tour
Tori performed in Phoenix, AZ on September 27, 1998 at the America West Arena during the main North American leg of her Plugged '98 tour.
Tori performed Happy Phantom and Marianne solo. Thanks to Carlyn Brazelton for being the first to send me the set list.
The most recently added reviews are first.
From Crissy Megli
December 23, 1998 - Okay, I've looked at the Phoenix show reviews before, but this is the first that I've really been able to respond. I went with Carlyn Brazelton. We had great seats!!!! I loved it. There were some people complaining about not a lively crowd....well we got up and danced, in the second row to the side, and the people behind us threw coke on us, and spit on us. It was very rude. The 96 show was a lot more intimate, but I really love the band. Matt was just awesome on the drums and he seemed to feed off of Tori's energy. She did the cornflake girl dance! She played a lot of the older songs which kind of suprised me, because I saw that she was mostly playing stuff from choirgirl. I loved the mix of songs though. Rasberry Swirl was really neat, the light effects were awesome!! You know, when Tori talked about her funny day, she didn't at all seem sad or depressed. In fact it seemed as though she really wanted to tell us because she said it about 3 times. In the end it was wonderful, I lost my voice for 3 days (I had never done that before), and I wear my new shirts and necklace all the time. This is just my opinion, the main thing wrong was that a lot of the crowd were new fans, because of choirgirl and they didn't know how to act or show courtesy to one another like tori fans usually do. Plus they didn't know any of her older songs. I loved it, and I can't wait to see her again because she really is amazing live.
From Paul C. Schrickel
October 16, 1998 - Hey Mike. I just wanted to make a few comments about the latest Tori show I saw here in Phoenix. Hopefully you'll even get a chance to post this on your site. When I saw Tori on Sept. 27th in Phoenix it was the second time I had saw Tori live. The first time was on the Dew Drop Inn tour, here in Phoenix. Anyway, yes there was a huge difference in the two shows. I myself preferred the more intimate Tori concert of the past, but please don't feel I'm knocking the Plugged Tour, it was a great show. Anyway here's my point, I felt that the audience was the worst part of the show. I had just seen Robert Plant & Jimmy Page three nights before and maybe that has something to do with it, but the fans had almost no energy or enthusiasm. I know it's hard to not be completely mesmerized by Tori's beauty, but songs like Raspberry Swirl and Cornflake girl rock with a live band and I felt that the fans should get off their butts and enjoy the show. When it was just Tori and the piano I can understand the fans just sitting and listening, but the plugged Tori I feel is supposed to be fun!! I thought it was great when some of the fans rushed to the stage to dance during Cornflake Girl. I just envisioned a bunch of Tori fans dancing together and celebrating life and Tori's music together. Well I'm also flying back home to see the Oct. 27th Dayton show. I really hope that the fans there are not as "boring" as the fans here. Let's have some fun!!
From Kara Stiles
October 11, 1998 - Well, I got sixth row, dead center. Best seats in the house, in my opinion. She was AWESOME. Opened with Precious Things (my favorite song in the WHOLE world) and it was awesome. I can't even explain it...maybe it was the lights everytime she burst out, but it was breathtaking, heart stopping, whatever you want to call it. You know those concerts where you just wait for the next song to be played because you might like it better than the one thats being played right now? If she had dragged each of her songs out for an hour, I wouldn't have minded.
She was singing something different in "God." I don't remember what it was...like her last concert (dew drop inn), when she sang precious things, it was "Let them bleed, daddy." and it was something about Jesus in "God" and I wish to God I could remember it...
There were three girls wearing faerie wings on their dresses in 5th row, which at first I though was cute, but then they were dancing like hoochies (I'm sorry, but ya ain't nothin' but a hoochie mama is NOT acceptable at a tori concert.)
We waited outside after the concert for her, she came out for a few minutes, but I'm only 5'2, so I didn't see her. My best friend saw the top of her head. She talked to a few people and left...some dumb chicks were rambling on about how Tori's "given us SO much HOPE!" I was pretty disappointed that she left, but who could blame her.
I was on my way back to the parking garage and I saw a tour bus with stuffed animals in the front window. It passed us as we were waiting to cross the street. One of the window blinds was halfway up, and I saw her red hair and a hand waiving at us. My best friend saw a bag of Tostitos in the other hand.
From Jaemi A Brierley (Posted to the RDTRN mailing list)
October 2, 1998 - Ok guys. I am barely back in one piece from the Phoenix Tori show on Sunday. Oddity was in the air.
I showed up at America West at about 12:15 to get a number...they were only on 18! Needless to say I was psyched. My boyfriend and I took off to get some lunch and what have you. We came by later -- about 2 -- to check up on things. A girl said that Steve rode by on his bike to tell us that there wouldn't be a meet and greet. It was really odd because I had been waiting since the 7th grade to meet Tori but after I got my number I thought to myself "Don't get your hopes up." And for me (because I am super-duper excitable) that was extremely out of character. And I wasn't very surprised for some reason either. I just felt like something was amiss.
So we came beck at 4:30 just in case and there were still people lagging around but most everyone had left. Tori arrived like an hour before and still hadn't come put. By this time I was extremely dehydrated and I had developed a nasty migrane so we walked around to get some Tylenol.
The show was scheduled to start at 7:30. The Devlins went on promptly and finished at 8. But Tori didn't come on until about 9. Is that normal? I didn't think so. Her speaking voice was raspy but her singing voice was incredible. She talked to us before secret time. She said that it was a funny day but that she wasn't allowed to tell us why.She said to ask if we went to another show, though. She played Happy Phantom (She said that it was a song about dying which has to do with what she couldn't tell us (!) and it makes her feel better about it) and Marianne. Not good signs overall. I can't help but wonder what happened...
Oh...she did an *awesome* version of God. Instead of "Do you need a woman to look after you?" I *swear* she said "Do you need a woman to beat you?" !!!!!! It was so awesome.
I guess she was coming out to talk after the show but I still felt sick and we had to drive back up the mountain (to Flagstaff) for school. I swear we made the drive in record time--one hour and 45 minutes!
From Perko Meagon N
September 29, 1998 - Getting to see Tori Amos in Denver and meeting her after the show was one of the best experiences of my life. Yet seeing her once was not enough for my friends and I so we drove down to Phoenix, AZ to see her again.
It took about 13 hours to drive down to Phoenix and we got there about 2 hours before the show started. As we were waiting, I saw a group of people supposedly going in to see Tori but a lady came by and told me if I wasn't with the Meet and Greet, I would have to leave. I was determined to see Tori again, and despite the security guards telling us that Tori would not be doing autographs after the show, we decided to stay after and find her.
Our seats were pretty close to the stage but Tori's back was to us most of the time. Her performance was astounding though. Every song was filled with such power and emotion that it took my breath away. Her voice was so beautiful. The corws disappointed me though. WhenI saw her at Red Rocks, the entire crowd was on its feet the entire time, but in Phoneix, everyone sat back down after Tori came out on stage. For the first encore Caton motioned for everyone to satnd and after that the crowd stayed on its feet. The best song they played was Raspberry Swirl. The energy, lights, music and intensity was just amazing.
After the show my friends and I walked around the arena until we found a line of people. That line eventually squished into a huge mob and I was crushed in the midle of it. Everyone keot shoving everybody around and my friends weren't able to get up where I was. By the time Tori came out, I had been shoved up near the front but there were still a lot of people ahead of me and I was lucky I was able to hand my stuff to Tori for an autograph. Tori looked very tierd but was radiant as always. She signed my postcard for me but I wasn't able to talk to her again. I wanted more than anything to give her a hug but there were too many people ahead of me. My friends, who weren't able to meet Tori when she came to Denver, barely even caught a glimpse of her.
Even though the autograph signing was a big mess, just seeing Tori and being almost right next to her was an experience I will never forget. And even though I didn't get to give her a hug or talk to her again, seeing and hearing her play made the 13 hour trip well worth it.
From John Barentine
September 29, 1998 - Let me first mention how much I appreciate your efforts at keeping up The Dent -- after reading it all this summer in advance of seeing Tori last night at America West Arena in Phoenix I knew what to expect (for the most part) which made for a much more enjoyable experience, as was the case the last time she played here in '96.
I won't bother with the setlist or too many particular comments on the songs since I notice they're already up on your site. But I do have some comments to make about the absence of a pre-show Meet & Greet and what it was like for the post-show one.
My friends and I arrived at America West at about 1:30 PM. By that time a small crowd (maybe 20 people or so) had gathered outside one entrance to the arena for the pre-show Meet & Greet. We sat down in the shade and planned to wait a few hours for her to show and amused ourselves in the interim. Within about 30 minutes, Steve came riding up on a bike and told us "There's not going to be a meet and greet before the show, okay guys?" I for one thought that was rather odd and figured that maybe they were concerned about crowd control or something. Some people did get up and leave because they saw he had credentials but we stayed for the long haul. At one point in the afternoon, by about 4PM, the crowd had dwindled down to less than ten, but around 4:30 or so when her bus arrived activity picked up again and there were about 40 people waiting around the entrance to the parking garage attached to the arena. Steve came out again twice to say there would be no meet and greet but the crowd didn't really disperse. Another member of the security detail came out and talked to us for a while -- I don't know his name but he was a solidly built guy with a bald head and a mustache -- he was really nice and explained calmly that she really wasn't going to come out before the show. I asked him if he would take gifts and letters back for her and he said sure, depending on what kind of item it was (e.g. he took my letter and some other small items from people but told a girl who wanted to give Tori a couple of what appeared to be silver rings "She already has a lot of jewelry; why don't you keep these, okay?" He showed up later behind the barricades at the post-show meet and greet with Tori, Joel, and Steve.
The strange thing was that, while talking to him, I said "I know she's not coming out, but do you have any idea why that is?" and he refused to answer by changing the subject. That happened three times while he stood there. I didn't ask that question to pry into what was obviously none of my business, but just to make sure she was okay physically, since it seemed odd to me that she cancelled the pre-show event, although I later learned that this has happened an increasing number of times in recent days. It was as though he was protecting her from something that wasn't evident then. Later on during the show we got an idea of what that might have been.
What clued me in were her comments at the beginning of Secret Time. As people have already relayed to you, she talked about it having been a "funny day" and that she couldn't talk about it now (seeming to me to insinuate that she wasn't allowed to talk about it yet) but "ask me if you come to the other shows and I'll tell you then". She repeated that it had been a "funny day" and then mentioned that someone had requested Happy Phantom which was "a song about dying which is related to today, but I can't talk about that". When she finished that and went right into Marianne, the first thought I had was that she might possibly have received news about the death of someone close to her or important to her because of the theme of the songs she chose for Secret Time (it would be interesting to see what the 'planned' setlist was for the show). I thought that might also be why she a) cancelled the pre-show event and b) appeared utterly exhausted and a little stoic at the post-show appearance. She also played only one song in the second encore, and many of the people around us as the house lights came back on and began leaving were talking about how they felt the show was a little on the short side duration-wise.
It was what happened *after* the show that gave me the most concern and makes me feel like we've seen the end of an era for Tori and her style of touring. After Horses ended we bolted for the exit and went around to the building where a line of about 20 people had already formed. That line grew to what could have easily been 200-300 people within minutes and from the onset it was very clear that the arena security worried they were going to have a crowd-control incident in short order. The barricades were already set up two-deep to separate people from the doors behind them. Steve came out looking very haggard and announced the usual: that Tori would only come out if the event were kept orderly and the rules were followed, then layed down the rules for everyone. The wait was about 40 minutes and it was clear that most of the people there had no idea how the meet and greets are supposed to work, in theory at least. A lot of people there were simply not going to be able to have anything signed or perhaps even to see her given that the mass of people was 12-15 deep from the barricades. I want to say to anyone who was there that I was simultaneously appreciative of the few who helped me keep order via an informal network that got setup on my side of the crowd, and I am extremely disappointed and embarrassed (not to mention angered) by the behavior of the others who had no regard whatsoever for the rules of the game or even the basic safety of others in the crowd and they all surged forward when she appeared. One of my friends was being crushed by the onslaught behind her to the point where it was difficult for her to breathe, and her desperate pleas to the people behind her to back off a little to give her breathing room were met, by an overwhelming majority, with obscenities and some really nasty and uncalled-for epithets. Sure, a lot was due to the impatience of a large crowd faces with waiting a long time, but there was a breakdown in basic human consideration for one's fellow man in this crowd. I say I was embarassed because Phoenix is my hometown and I had hoped we could set a good example for other cities and to do so for Tori, because by that point in the night she was clearly wiped out and looked awful. I can only imagine that she really didn't want to be there, but was doing this out of kindness and love for her fans. I felt ashamed by what took place.
This is a far cry from the 1996 appearance in Phoenix where the post-show event was attended by about 50 people who showed only the highest respect for order and civility which allowed everyone to speak to Tori and get a hug or a handshake if they wanted it. In stark contrast, this was a near-riot by the time it was over. I get the feeling that perhaps next time when she plays the major markets like this one, there will be NO post-show event simply because the number of people showing up is getting out of hand to the point where it might perhaps affect Tori's safety and well-being. At the same time, I witnessed some acts of pure kindness in that crowd, such as the people in the front being very gracious about helping get items from behind passed up to the front for autographs and then helping get those items back to their owners. There were others who used nothing more than loud, intimidating voices to get through the unruly ones' thick skulls the point that their behavior could compromise the experience for everyone, since few people took Steve seriously when he said he'd pull the plug on the event if it got out of hand -- reaction from some in the crowd were words that would be unfit to repeat here, they were so callous and pathetic. This is just not what I imagined at all and a far cry from my previous experience. Nonetheless I strained forward with a whole stack of items for my friends and random people in the crowd to have signed which she took from me, signed as neatly as possible, and handed right back. I thanked her as loud as I could and added "I'm sorry it's like this Tori".
As an aside, I took some pictures with a digital camera all the while but haven't really looked at them to see if they turned out -- seemingly unlike EVERYONE ELSE I followed Steve's instructions and turned off my flash. If any of them turn out, I'll send some to you.
And a few brief comments about the show:
On the whole pretty good, though her piano and the Kurzweil particularly were just not high enough in the mix -- her voice was okay but her instruments were drowned out many times by Caton's manic guitar playing and Matt's drumming. Jon seemed to come though just fine all the time though. I thought it was a little too theatrical at some points with all the fog, a little KISS-esque perhaps though the light show was very beautiful. Many of the people in the audience I was observing didn't care too much for some arrangements of the songs, e.g. the late 40's-ish couple sitting next to us with the woman plugging her ears during 2/3 of The Waitress for it being apparently too loud. With the exception of the Cornflake Girl dancing incident mentioned already on the site, no one got up at all until the encores and only really moved about during Raspberry Swirl (by the way, what happened to Matt's deely-boppers? From our vantage point they were nowhere to be seen.)
While we didn't get many b-sides we did get some infrequently-played tunes on this tour -- for example, "Father Lucifer" with a backing band was very powerful, prefaced with a rare comment from Tori about discovering that Lucifer was a woman, considering she didn't speak to us much. She did make a mention near that point in time about relating to the cacti of the desert out here and that she liked the place, which inspired her to wear the green apron. She said the band had nicknamed her "Serpentina" in that outfit, much to the delight of the audience. There were those moments when she really seemed to be having fun and enjoying herself, and there were moments such as during Secret Time when it seemed she was more quiet and reserved than usual to the point where it seemed sad to me.
If we never find out why yesterday was a "funny day" for her I hope she has the strength to carry on with the shows from here on, especially after having seen the state she was in after last night's show. Despite the obnoxious, inconsiderate individuals in that crowd who showed so little respect for her despite expecting her signature on their items there are many people such as I who were moved by her kindness and grace. But then again, that's what makes her such a special artist and individual in this world. On the odd chance that she ever reads this, thank you Tori. Despite the chaos of the day, what you did was amazing.
Thanks again Mike for your work. Reading the Dent amounts to pretty much a daily ritual and it's all thanks to you.
From Sandy Rizzo
September 28, 1998 - First the Devlins played, and they were good. The crowd gave them nice applause and they covered well when one of their amps or guitars gave them a problem--went into an acoustic song instead. Not major energy, but a good performance. They're down to three members (I was used to them being four from their "Drift" album) and so I guess they had a lot of sampled keyboard. They said they were "big Tori fans" and about how they'd been touring w/Tori and the band for about 4 months. Colin Devlin said, "I know, lucky us!"
About 45 minutes passed after the Devlins, and then at precisely 9pm, Tori's show began. She wore grayish capri pants, a blue v-neck long-sleeved stretchy type top, and a flowing shiny coverlet. The coverlet came to a v down front and back, about to her upper leg. Also black heel boots. She said something funny about the outfit which I'll share below. Tori looked and sounded beautiful the entire night.
Precious Things -- Lots of smoke and lights. Kind weird to see her this way. The band was really into it and it was cute when Tori moved the green cover to do her "nice grrrrllll" part of the song.
i i e e e -- At the beginning, she did a cute dance with her hands, like swimming or a snake. They added a really nice jazzy section to the song. I'm sure it wasn't improvised, but it had that kind of sound. Before this one, she said that because of her outfit, her band was calling her a "serpentine," and she wasn't sure if that was a good thing or a bad thing...also that she could be a bitch to the band, but at least she was a nice bitch.
Father Lucifer -- The band was absolutely fantastic on this number. I was so happy she played this. She said something about that she wrote this when getting in touch with how she thought men had taken something from her, but that she found out that Lucifer was a woman.
God -- Very funky, nice Bose sound.
Spark -- Tori had haunting eyes on this one. A yellow light on her face made her look eerie.
Cornflake Girl -- During this song, suddenly, a LOT of people rushed the stage. People ran up to the front from all over the arena. I don't know if this was planned, but it happened so fast, it seemed like it was. Security jumped to send them back. I almost thought they wouldn't have been able to, but somehow, they did. I felt glad for those who were sitting up that way who'd be able to see better because no one was standing in their way. Because of this rushing, it kind of took some umph from the song. I wasn't sure if Tori was aware, but it seemed she was.
She said it was time for the band to go away and that someone had asked her to do these songs, and that it was a "funny day." She said something like, "Don't ask me now, and I won't tell you now--it'd take too long--but sometime, ask me. It was a funny day." So, if someone spoke w/her before or after the show and can provide what she meant, that would be good.
Happy Phantom -- She said this one was about death. In fact, there was a definite death string to the three "solo" songs (although the third wasn't solo, but felt that way). I wondered if this had anything to do with who "asked her to do the songs" or her funny day. Truly nice performance, very whimsical, and I'm glad she is doing solo time.
Marianne -- THIS WAS BEAUTIFUL.
Band came back, but quietly, and they did:
Bells For Her -- Nothing to say about it except that it was mystical.
Cruel -- This was funny. She was eating at the beginning of this one! While the band was doing their thing, she had a big mug with handle, I mean a BIG mug, and a spoon, and it was soup or something. She looked like she was having fun, facing the crowd in the kind-of-dark and eating during the intro. Then she put it down and went into her part of the song. Also, she used kind of a New York accent during the beginning of this one. Love this song and glad she did it.
Hotel -- Caton was great on this, nice sounds with his guitar.
Waitress -- The band really complements this one live. John Evans was *out of this world* on this track, and Matt was also really intense. The smoke was billowing out like the fires of hell!!!! Really a great performance on this one. Lots of rage visually and aurally!
Talula -- Good. Probably at this point, I was hoping for Liquid Diamonds, but this was okay.
Raspberry Swirl -- Some (including myself) were dancing, just a great number.
Horses -- Folks were right, this IS a really funky mix, very nice.
I must say that I'm sure it's hard touching the crowd with a gigantic rock show (or watching one) when you're used to a small, intimate thing. The band was FANTASTIC and Tori was FANTASTIC (her voice was just perfect throughout). She and the band can really rock, but having been a fan from the beginning, it's sort of difficult to have it all translate into smoke and lights. I think the place was so huge (I'm used to the Suns, etc. there) and I wasn't as close to the stage as I had been previously (although the seats were great and my friend and I could see everything well throughout the show). But it seemed that, compared with former shows and other dates, this was a laid back crowd and she didn't carry on the banter that she normally does. Maybe because it's a Sunday night? Also, I was personally knowing that she'd played "Mother," "Flying Dutchman," and "Sister Janet" the night before, and thought NO WAY could she do a better setlist, and in fact, I was disappointed that she hadn't played any b-sides--it seemed almost like a "greatest hits" show more than anything else. I didn't know if that's just me, or if other Phoenix-show folks felt the same way. The lights were well done--Tori can do a rock show. Also, from where my friend and I sat, we could see Mark Hawley at the sound controls--he is one hard worker. A beautiful show, but I hope next time she cranks the size down a notch or two--I miss it.
September 28, 1998 - This was my first time seeing Tori live and she put on one hell of a show!!! Everything was amazing! The lighting was excellent, it really brought me into the songs. Her voice sounded wonderful and just watching her play that piano was intense. The rest of the band was excellent as well. The entire time I didnt feel like I was sitting in AWA in my home town of Phoenix. I felt as though I was in her imagination, her minds eye. The way the sounds blended was hypnotic and intoxicating. She would start you out soft then kick you in the face with hard hitting drums, bass and guitar. She has taken a young mans love of piano and turned it into lust! I can't wait till the next time I get to see her! I'm a new Tori Amos junkie!!
From Jeff Beck
September 28, 1998 - I just back back from the concert. After seeing the great set list she had played in San Diego the night before, I just had a weird feeling that Phoenix was going to get a standard set list and I was right. The exception to this was Marianne(secret time), which I don't think has been played too much this tour. Most of the singles were covered Cornflake Girl, God, Spark, Talula, and she did not play any B-sides. This was my 4th Tori concert and first of the plugged '98 tour. My impressions of this concert were mixed. I felt that the Choirgirl songs played (Cruel, iieee, Hotel) went very well with the band backing her up and this may be because I'm used to hearing the songs that way. Some of the songs were rearranged so much that it took away from their magic (Horses, Talula). At points, I did feel that the band did drown out Tori's voice, but not as much as I had expected after reading posts about other shows on the tour. [Note from Mikewhy: I have been to 9 shows so far on this tour, and Tori's voice was always loud and clear. I guess it varies according to the venue...] Her total playing time was 1 1/2 hours, which is only 45 minutes more than the opening act, The Devlins, got to play. Wouldn't it be great if Tori would play for 2 hours? That would allow her to play about 5 more songs per concert from her extensive song catalog. I bet everyone wishes that though!
As far as the meet and greet, if it happened I missed it. Expecting it to happen around 4:00 pm after reading other posts, I showed up at around 3:45 and waited until about 5:15 before I decided to get a bite to eat. There were about 20 or so other people still waiting around when I decided to leave. This was my 4th show and I still have yet to hear Tear in your Hand. Is there any justice? Maybe next time.
From Carlyn Brazelton
September 28, 1998 - Phoenix was awesome. Here's my little review She was wearing a body suit with a green sequin dress similar to the one Bjork wore during SNL that one time, with slits up the sides
Tori opened with Precious Things
Iiiieeee with a little dance before it started she said hi to everybody and said that she loved this place but hadn't been outside but (some thing about) it's hotter than hell and she smelled a dead cat or something
she introduced Matt as the one who hits things and talked about Father Lucifer before she played it & said that she found out Lucifer was a woman
Spark- the ballerina verse was sung twice
The band left
Before Happy Phantom, she said that we'd have to ask her later because she couldn't say, but it'd been a funny day
She played Marianne
Band came back for Bells for Her
She bopped around a lot during Cruel and did many little hand gestures that were cute
Hotel--it looke like her jaw was kinda bothering her (?)
Waitress- Matt totally rocked
Please give me feedback, comments, or suggestions about my site. Email me (Michael Whitehead) at firstname.lastname@example.org