"I dyed my hair red today
I just want a little passion
To hold me in the dark
I know I've got some magic
Buried deep in my heart"
In late July my brother Riku, his wife Eva and myself headed out to Pori to see Tori Amos perform at the Pori Jazz Festival.
I have been a fan of Tori Amos for well over a decade. I borrowed a copy of "Boys for Pele" from my local library around 1997 - and immediately fell in love. I think it is safe to say that there's no other musician or band whose music would have stayed with me as long as Tori's has. Year after year I feel I get back to her first four albums and they feel as fresh to me as the first time I heard them. Her music truly speaks to me as much as it did back when I was 14-years old... On a different level, sure, but still as strongly as back in the day. If there is one musician who has continuously stayed with me on this adventure called growing up, it is Tori Amos. It may sound cliched and sappy but for me it is the truth.
To be honest, I have not been into Tori's music post-"From the Choirgirl Hotel" all of that much and I have not even fully listened to her past couple of records. While her first four records are perfection to me, I personally feel her newest albums lack the spark and passion that I love about her early music. They just aren't my thing. Despite being a fan for over a decade, I had actually never seen Tori Amos live prior to Pori Jazz. So, when I heard that I finally had the chance to catch one of her shows, I asked Riku and Eva to come along. Because I'm such a huge fan and he is my little brother, Riku has also grown up with Tori since a young age - and he still remembers all of the lyrics to her songs! Riku has introduced Tori to Eva who has also become a big fan. We met up with Eva's awesome friends at the festival, who have also been fans of Tori as long as I.
We arrived at the festival area a couple of hours prior to Tori's gig and took our seats. I knew beforehand that instead of trying to get in the front row as usual, this time I'd just take it easy and enjoy the show from a little further away from the stage. The crowd was truly an interesting mix; there was an amusingly clear difference between the Tori fans and the fans of John Fogerty (who was performing after Tori).
Even though Tori's show was quite short, the setlist to me was perfect. In fact, she only performed one newer song that I wasn't as familiar with: "Beauty of Speed". Other than that, the set of the setlist could have easily been from one of her mid-90s shows! It has been a long, long time since I've been as moved by a concert as I was by seeing Tori Amos. With each song came a flow of memories and nostalgia from different parts of my life - followed by tears. "Crucify", "Bells for Her", "Hey Jupiter", "Silent All These Years", "Precious Things"... These are some of my all time favorite songs and Tori performed them with the same gusto as back in the day! In fact, I was a little scared beforehand that she wouldn't play any old songs and that even if she did, it wouldn't be with the same fire. But thankfully my fears were completely unfounded! Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Tori Amos still very much kicks ass!
The people around us were mainly Fogerty fans who were all sitting down quiet. I'm really not used to sitting at gigs so it felt weird to me not to have people jumping around me and singing the lyrics to all of the songs. But after the initial shock I completely forgot about the people around me and fell into a Tori Amos daze, if you will. We were in our own little group among the Fogerty fans, enjoying the show 110%. However, I do hope that next time that I get to see Tori, it will be a full show in a more intimate setting because that is what her music really calls for.
After Tori performed her last song, waved and ran off the stage, we went walking around the beautiful city of Pori. We talked about Tori and just how amazing the gig was before driving back home in a teary happy lovey dovey daze. It was truly an amazing experience to finally see Tori Amos live and to get to share it with family. Definitely one of the highlights of my summer and one of the most memorable gigs I've ever been to.
"Caught a Lite Sneeze"
"Personal Jesus / Body and Soul"
"Bells for Her"
"Beauty of Speed"
"Silent All These Years"
"Cloud on My Tongue"
"Take to the Sky"