Posted on August 12th, 2014 | by Leslie

0

The songs of Tori Amos

Tori Amos has been my favourite musician, most respected role model, guide to performance, most challenging inspiration, and song-sister (if she’ll forgive the impudence) since I first heard her music in university.  I was 19, on the cusp of leaving my childhood religion, undiagnosed with autism, untested on my own two feet, and unsure of my place in the world.

The first album I listened to was Boys For Pele and I did not get it.  One of my roommates told me I’d love her, but I couldn’t understand what I was hearing.  I wasn’t ready (though later Pele became an album very close to my heart).  Then I heard Little Earthquakes and Under the Pink and I started to listen.

As a pianist, and a rocking pianist with a powerful voice, as a composer who translates the filaments of light that are embryonic songs, who feels the music chasing me, as a poet and a storyteller, as a woman who speaks in mythic metaphor, who accepts the universal unconscious web connecting me to place and person across time, I had found my greatest teacher.

Tori Amos has never stopped growing as a person, a woman, a musician, a performer, an artist.  She continually challenges herself to speak the truth as she sees it, as she learns it, as it slaps her upside the head, drags her down and lifts her up.  She doesn’t just play the piano, she converses with it, and she has taught me to do the same.

Since 1999, I have seen her in concert every time she comes to Toronto, and as of last week that number is nine.  Nine times.  I’ve seen her tour with her band (Matt Chamberlain, Jon Evans, Steve Caton), with strings (Apollon Musagéte Quartet), and once with Alanis Morissette, but most often alone, owning that stage.

Opening for her over the years has been a truly eclectic collection of musicians, including Rufus Wainwright, Howie Day, Ben Folds, The Likes, The Ditty Bops, Yoav, One Eskimo, Thomas Dybdahl, and Trevor Moss & Hannah Lou.  Pianos, guitars, loopers, duos, harmonies, loud and soft, folk to rock.  You never know what to expect from that opening act.

Every time I go to her show I buy a tour book.  Sometimes Neil Gaiman has penned the words inside, or they’ve been written by someone else, sometimes there are quotes from Tori’s songs, other times Tori shares her own thoughts unlyricized.  The photography is always beautiful, the quality stunning, and I write down on one of the pages the set list from the night to remind me which songs I heard when and where.

I wanted to compile a list, and this seemed the best place to do that, so here are the songs I’ve heard her play live:

1000 Oceans – 2001
A Sorta Fairytale – 2002, 2003, 2007, 2009
Amber Waves – 2003
Baker Baker – 2005
Beauty Queen – 2014
Beauty of Speed – 2014
Bells For Her – 2003, 2009
Black Swan – 2001
Bliss – 1999, 2003, 2007, 2011
Blood Roses – 1999, 2005
Big Wheel – 2007, 2009, 2011
Bouncing Off Clouds – 2007
Carbon – 2003, 2009
Cars and Guitars – 2005
Caught A Lite Sneeze – 2014
China – 1999, 2014
Cloud On My Tongue – 2002, 2005
Code Red – 2007
Concertina – 2002, 2009
Cool On Your Island – 2001
Cooling – 2001, 2003, 2011
Cornflake Girl – 1999, 2002, 2003, 2007, 2009, 2014
Crazy – 2005
Crucify – 2001, 2002
Cruel – 2007, 2011
Curtain Call – 2014
Daniel – 2001
Datura (bridge) – 2011
Edge of the Moon – 2011
Fast Horse – 2009
Fat Slut – 2007
Father Lucifer – 2003, 2011
Fearlessness – 2011
General Joy – 2005
Give – 2009
Glory of the 80s – 2007
God – 1999, 2003
Here. In My Head – 2005
Hey Jupiter – 2001, 2003, 2007, 2011
Horses – 2002, 2007, 2014
Hotel – 1999, 2002, 2009
I Can’t See New York – 2002, 2003
I Feel The Land (intro) – 2009
Icicle – 2005, 2011
iieee – 1999, 2014
Indian Summer – 2014
Invisible Boy – 2014
Jackie’s Strength – 2011
Jamaica Inn – 2005
Lady In Blue – 2009
Liquid Diamonds – 2007
Little Amsterdam – 2001
Little Earthquakes – 2003
Lust – 2002
Marianne – 2002
Maybe California – 2011
Me & A Gun – 2001
Mother – 2001, 2005, 2009
Mother Revolution – 2009
Mr Zebra – 2001
Nautical Twilight – 2011
Never Seen Blue – 2001
Northern Lad – 1999, 2005
Not The Red Baron – 2001
Original Sinsuality – 2005
Pancake – 2002
Parasol – 2014
Past The Mission – 2002, 2011
Playboy Mommy – 2002, 2011
Precious Things – 1999, 2002, 2003, 2007, 2009, 2011
Pretty Good Year – 2001
Professional Widow – 2003, 2007
Putting The Damage On – 2003, 2005, 2009
Roosterspur Bridge – 2009
Scarlet’s Walk – 2002
Shattering Sea – 2011
Siren – 2003
Smokey Joe – 2007
Space Dog – 2007
Spark – 2005, 2007, 2011
Spring Haze – 2002, 2011
Star of Wonder – 2011
Star Whisperer – 2011
Strange – 2002
Strong Black Vine – 2009
Suede – 1999, 2011
Sugar – 1999, 2001, 2014
Sweet Sangria – 2002, 2003
Sweet the Sting – 2014
Take To The Sky – 2002, 2003, 2011, 2014
Taxi Ride – 2002, 2005, 2011
Tear In Your Hand – 2003
Teenage Hustling – 2007
The Beekeeper – 2005
The Power of Orange Knickers – 2009
The Waitress – 1999, 2007
Tombigbee – 2003
Twinkle – 2001
Wampum Prayer – 2002, 2003
Way Down – 2011
Wedding Day – 2014
Wednesday – 2002, 2003
Welcome To England – 2009
Wild Way – 2014
Winter – 2002, 2007, 2011
Your Cloud – 2002

Covers:
97 Bonnie & Clyde (Eminem) – 2001
Both Sides Now (Joni Mitchell) – 2005
Building A Mystery (Sarah McLachlan) – 2014
Case Of You (Joni Mitchell) – 2014
Enjoy The Silence (Depeche Mode) – 2001
Famous Blue Raincoat (Leonard Cohen) – 1999
Free Fallin’ (Tom Petty) – 2014
Happy (40th) Birthday to Jon – 2009
If You Could Read My Mind (Gordon Lightfoot) – 2005
Raining Blood (Slayer) – 2001
Rattlesnakes (Lloyd Cole & The Commotions) – 2001, 2003
Running To Stand Still (U2) – 2003
Songbird (Fleetwood Mac) – 2011
Take Me With You (Prince) – 2007

I can’t believe how many of these songs I used to cover and perform and haven’t touched in years.  Time to dust them off again.

Tori, you have demonstrated to me what it is to be a master, a crafter, a sufferer in the light, a speaker in tongues.  You are the single most important influence on my life, not only as a musical being but as a translator of Nature’s Spheres and Rhythms.

Play on, sweet soul.

And so will I.

Tags: , , ,


About the Author


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to Top ↑