Show Review: Tori Amos at the Paramount Theatre, 7/13/09

by Raffi Youssoufian on July 19, 2009

What was Tori's surprise?  Read on.  (Thanks to Jon for the setlist photo.)

What was Tori's surprise? Read on. (Thanks to Jon for the setlist photo.)

I’m not going to sugar coat this, because there really isn’t much that could have been sweeter than this adventure, which was entirely one of the most awesome experiences I’ve ever had, concert or otherwise.

Oh, where to begin…

The very fabulous Dakin scored the opportunity to see Tori’s sound check and get into the meet and greet which was put together by local radio station KFOG.  Of course, I didn’t know about any of this until I was on the train heading to Oakland at about 4 p.m. the day of, so you could imagine the “omg” moment I had when I heard Dakin’s message.  Inside, from the very front row of the lovely Paramount Theatre, we were treated to four songs as Tori, remarkable drummer Matt Chamberlain, and the always rock solid John Evans on guitar and bass worked to perfect the set for the night’s show.  She conversed with us in between songs a bit, but was definitely more concentrated on making sure the sound and performance would be spot on for the show.  It was a wonderfully unique experience to have an almost-private Tori Amos concert.

One awesome story within this story incorporated Dakin and I getting a young Tori fan that I had met earlier into the sound check.  She had missed the earlier impromptu meet and greet that Tori occasionally does in the afternoon before a show.  Without even having a ticket for the concert, she not only got to see Tori perform from the front row, tears streaming from her eyes, but then experienced the pure jubilation of meeting her favorite artist.  That’s a moment you just can’t buy.  It meant the world to her.  And as huge music fans ourselves, we couldn’t have been happier for her.  It just really goes to show that when you make the effort and stay persistent, regardless of what it is, awesome and dreamlike things can happen when you least expect them to.

I wish I could transcribe our conversation with Tori because she truly is one of the sweetest people I’ve ever met, and because the conversation was filled with everything you could imagine!  I did meet her once, at a smaller similar event, four years ago, so with that in mind, I walk in to the room, her eyes immediately light up and she says, “Hey! I know you! I remember the sparkle in your eyes.”  It’s funny, I melted, but I was fine, and kept my footing perfectly.  I think Dakin put it best afterward.  “You guys seemed like old chums just chatting it up.”  That is exactly what we did.  It was just such a comfortable scenario, we talked, made jokes, and she even held off the next pair of people in line to give me advice about moving to Los Angeles.  Now there’s someone who cares!  You can’t help but like an artist even more when you find out how great of a person they are.

The second part of the amazing night began after we got our tickets, which after the pre-show extravaganza, I didn’t care if they were in the  last row of the balcony.  Guess where are our tickets were? Just a smidge better.  But, after being up there for no more than a few minutes, we were given the last pair of front row tickets by a woman working at the venue.  We couldn’t believe it!  It was nothing less than magic.

The show itself, seen from the front row, consisted of songs ranging her entire catalog.  The setlist was as follows:

Part 1

Give, Siren, Graveyard Intro, Cornflake Girl, Flavor, Space Dog (No Intro), Sorta Fairytale, Beauty of Speed, Curtain Call, Icicle

Lizard Lounge

Tori Surprise (which was a cover of Baby Hit Me One More Time), Maybe California, China

Part 2

Martha’s Foolish Ginger, Fast Horse, Mother Revolution, Carbon, Precious Things, Strong Black Vine

Encore #1

Police Me, Bliss

Encore #2

Big Wheel, Tear In Your Hand

Absent were any songs from Boys for Pele and From the Choirgirl Hotel.  But she did include “Siren” from the Great Expectations soundtrack, which I had always wanted to hear live.  The highlight of Part 1 was definitely “Icicle,” with the band coming in strong during the climax of the song–no pun intended.

The Lizard Lounge, Tori’s Alone time with the audience, started off with wondering why her picture wasn’t up backstage with all the other artists who had played the venue before.  But one curious performer’s picture was up there, and then she proceeded to jump into a version of Britney Spears’ “Baby One More Time” to an erupting crowd.

Tori played passionately as she finished Part 2 strongly, definitely peaking with the powerful “Precious Things.”  The moment the last song ended, everyone jumped to the very front of the stage, and packed it up for the two forthcoming encores.

I can’t really say if this show was any better than her previous concerts, because in a way it almost felt as if she had just continued from where the last show had left off, with the only difference being the addition of new material.  Sure there are differences.  Every tour is very much its own entity, but every time I see her again, even if I miss a show or two, usually due to laziness having seen her many times already, the instant she starts I know there’s nothing else I’d rather be doing at that moment.  She is such a genuinely electric and sincere performer that I can’t help but be affected in a meaningful way.  There are a host of words I could use to describe that feeling, but the easiest way to put it, and what I liken it to, is that she just allows me to breathe happily.  And I truly hope that there is someone or something in this world that you can find that does the same for you, because there’s nothing like it.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Marie Carney July 20, 2009 at 4:55 pm

That. Was an excellent review. Thank you!


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