Monday, April 18, 2005

Tori Amos, Matt Nathanson / Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center, Philadelphia, PA / April 11, 2005

Whoever decided to put Matt Nathanson on the Tori Amos tour is some kind of marketing genius. Tori fans tend to be overwhelmingly emotional and overwhelmingly female, so OF COURSE they’ll go crazy for a cute, doughy, spiky-haired Ryan Adams/John Mayer/Gavin DeGraw sensitive acoustic guitar dude singing about how yooouuuu broke his heart. I mean, the guy hadn’t even strummed a note yet and the screaming was deafening. It was one of those moments that makes me hate my gender so much, I want to claw my tits off. (Then again, was I seriously expecting to not feel that way at any point during the night? I was at a frickin’ Tori Amos concert!) Nathanson seemed surprised by the response, so he told some jokes about Philly’s heavy metal history. Yes, we gave the world Britny Fox and Cinderella, and we’re proud of it.

As we waited for Tori to come on, I noticed a strange smell and smoke billowing up from stage left. WTF? M.J., who was sitting next to me, explained that it was probably Tori’s pre-show incense-burning ritual. Ah yes, how could I forget? She talked about that in her book.

I should probably make it clear that I like Tori Amos. She was an important part of my development as a pop music fan, and her 1994 show at the Tower Theatre was the first “cool” concert that I ever went to. I will viciously defend all of her albums up to and including To Venus and Back. But after that, she lost me. Scarlet’s Walk and The Beekeeper are adult-alternative snooze-o-rama. Fittingly, the lobby of the Kimmel Center was the scene of a showdown between dueling AA radio powerhouses KEXP and WXPN. Hot 97 and Power 105 got nothing on this!

Tori’s performance, as I wrote here, was absolutely perfect. And absolutely boring. It took all the powers of my journalistic ethics to keep from falling asleep. I did get a kick out of her cover of Springsteen’s “Streets of Philadelphia,” though, especially since I had been shut out of tickets for the latest Springsteen tour that very morning. (Screw you, Ticketbastard!) The crowd was very calm and respectful for the entire concert, until the end of “The Beekeeper” heralded the end of the main set and the start of the encore. All of a sudden, a crowd bumrushed the stage. Again, WTF? Again, I consulted M.J. Apparently, Tori was sick of rabid fans interrupting performances, so she spread word via a fan website that everybody was allowed to come down front, but only after she stood up from the piano bench after “The Beekeeper.” Wow.

Check out M.J.’s review here.