She had a january world
So many storms not right somehow
How a lion becomes a mouse
By the woods
But I have to get to TEXAS
Said I have to get to TEXAS
And I’ll give away my blue blue dress
American Doll Posse Tour
On her latest album, American Doll Posse (2007), Tori adopts the persona of five fictional women. Each of these archetypes symbolizes a particular side of her musical personality, and each is based on one of the female constituents of the Greek pantheon. Each fictional “doll” in the “posse” has her own unique look–the album cover features all 5 women. The artwork inside the album consists of individual photos and an individual back-story on each character. “It’s not just, ‘I’m going to wake up and play dress-up today,’ “ Tori says on her website, “I think it’s fair to say that all women are a different percentage of these archetypes, and each culture has different versions of these characters.” The posse is also on tour with Tori. For a portion of each show Tori performs as one of the dolls (performing songs that would be characteristic of each), plus each character updates her own myspace page and blog as the tour progresses. Being one of Ms. Amos’ most “ardent” fans, I set out on a journey to meet each individual character.
The first, named Santa, relates to Aphrodite and is the sensualist of the quintet. “Santa is somebody who’s a girl’s girl,” says Tori on her website. “She understands her fellow sisters and she believes that there is enough love and passion out there for everyone. But she won’t accept that there is something perverted about being very sensual.” With her short, blonde bob and a giant grin, Santa got the show in Dallas, Texas of to a crowd-thrilling start by emerging in full Dallas-Cowboy-Cheerleader uniform–-pom poms and all. I have been attending Tori’s shows since 1998. I have seen her live over 30 times. Santa brought a spirit to the show that I have not experienced before. It was by far the best Tori Amos show I have seen to date.November 24. 2007 Dallas, TX Nokia Theater Act 1–Tori as Santa Body and Soul She’s Your Cocaine Sweet The Sting Sugar Secret Spell Raspberry Swirl ————— Professional Widow ————- Act 2–Tori as Tori Big Wheel Father Lucifer Tear In Your Hand Cornflake Girl Lust Liquid Diamonds Act 3–Tori Only Improv–Stop Sign Jackie’s Strength Beulah Land Act 4–The Finale (The band is back) Horses Bliss Code Red First Encore- Precious Things Digital Ghost Second Encore- Bouncing Off Clouds
Clyde, who draws from Persephone–goddess of the underworld–wears her emotional wounds on her sleeve, but remains idealistic. She is looking at the effects of not being a whole person. She is trying to figure out what she believes in and she is dealing with having been disappointed in her life. Her back-story mentions that her father was killed in a car accident [Tori’s older brother was killed in a car accident 2 years ago]. Clyde with her long, brown hair partially hiding her face, presented a direct contrast to the cheerful, upbeat show Santa did the night before.November 25, 2007 Houston, TX Jones Hall Act 1–TORI AS CLYDE Bouncing Off Clouds Little Earthquakes Juarez Mary Little Amsterdam Beauty of Speed ————– Professional Widow —————- Act 2–TORI AS TORI Big Wheel Space Dog Pancake Cornflake Girl Doughnut Song Glory of The 80s ACT 3–TORI ONLY Improv–Burn Until Then Cloud On My Tongue ACT 4-The Finale (The band is back) Peeping Tommi Virginia Black Dove Code Red ENCORE- Precious Things Not David Bowie Hey Jupiter
I met Pip in Salt Lake City, and I have to say that hers was the most dramatic show. It “rocked” more than the previous shows. The guitars made their presence known. Pip represents Athena–the heroic goddess or the goddess of victory. Pip swaggers in wearing tight, black, rubber pants, high-heeled black boots, and a bright green top. Pip pounds her way through the driving “Teenage Hustling, ” “Cruel,” “Fat Slut,” and a very racous rendition of Neil Young’s “Heart of Gold.” Wow. Pip is loud and in-your-face. Tori describes her by saying, “Pip, being the warrior that she is, does confront issues and sometimes it’s explosive, but I really love her energy.” I enjoyed Pip’s grandeur.November 29, 2007
Unfortunately, I did not get to meet Isabel (Isabel went to Denver; I did not.). Isabel, a photographer, is a reflection of Artemis–goddess of the hunt–and is the most outwardly political of the bunch. She opens the album American Doll Posse with “Yo George,” a sarcastic ode to our Commander-in-Chief, suggesting that America has been led down a “horribly dark road.” Isabel is also responsible for the anti-war anthem, “Dark Side of the Sun.” I downloaded the album and photos of Isabel, so that I she would not be excluded from my experience.
In addition to the posse, Tori was accompanied by long-time bandmates Jon Evans (bass) and Matt Chamberlain (drums), as well as a new addition–guitarist Dan Phelps–rounding out Amos’ new band. Its been over 4 years since Tori has toured with a band, and it makes for a powerful presence. However, the volume is never so loud as to cause pain or irritation. The notorious audiophile maintains a clean, comfortable, sonically perfect mix. And a full band does not prevent Tori from using her grand piano, her organ, and two Yamaha synth keyboards–often playing any two at a time. Her effortlessness has me convinced that she would play more than two instruments at a time if her wingspan would allow it.
As an added bonus, many of the shows on the American Doll Posse Tour are available online for digital download within a few hours of each show’s completion. Each bootleg also includes album artwork as well as photos from the show. I am enjoying that Dallas show again as I write. Tori Amos has always been an inspiration to me as an artist, a writer, a performer and as a woman. The American Doll Posse tour was not only brilliantly concieved and stunningly executed, but it was also personally inspiring. “All of these women are different components of a complete female essence,” Amos says “and I’m exploring bringing these different components together in one woman.” As am I.