Thursday, June 14, 2007

Back in the USA!

A few minutes ago I departed the United Kingdom for what is hopefully the last time for a very long while, having only been there a couple hours en route from Copenhagen to St. Louis (via Chicago). Why, you ask, am I so vocal in my dislike for this island? Well, in addition to having currency twice as strong as my own, food half as good as my own, bad dental care, a pretentious accent and a rape of my mother language, the British Airport security system makes its American counterpart seem like a tea party. After arriving in Terminal 4 on my British Airways Airbus A319, I was funneled onto a small bus that drove through a barb-wire enclosed tunnel to Terminal 3 where I waited over an hour in line to clear security—though I had already done so in Copenhagen! I also had to show my passport and boarding card no less than four times each. I have never in my life experienced such a cluster fuck—and I’ve been in many questionable situations. To assume that such a setup augments air travel security even minimally suggests that single-celled organisms are the brains behind all this. If anything, such a disorganized and tense mess would provide increased opportunities for “terrorists”—if you believe in such nonsense—to do their dirty deeds.

In other news, Copenhagen was a strange show in that it had—minus what was only the second bowing of “Cruel” in the past six years—the most standard setlist that Tori Amos could have written but was performed better—ironicallly, minus said “Cruel”—than almost any other show this tour, which IS saying a lot. Despite the setlist monotony about which I’ve whined intermittently for the past three weeks, this tour is hands down the tightest band outing Mrs. Hawley has ever done. It’s not as possessed as 1998 or pissed off as 1999 (on the whole anyway—some parts are), but it makes 2002-3 look like a bad dream, and I would argue a joke. The energy is through the roof, Tori’s singing is perfect, and the three main musicians (T, Matt, and John) function as a single unit. Dan Phelps is pretty OK, too, and I imagine once he learns all the songs the quartet will be unstoppable. So if you’re having any doubts as to whether or not to attend a show this year, don’t doubt. Whether or not you should attend more than one will depend on how much the setlist variance increases in the coming weeks (ed: there should be no problem; never is), but a safe bet is to see multiple shows in the same city/geographical area.

I love arbitrary rankings as some of you all know, so I’m go ahead and rank the shows (1 being the best and the final number being the worst) I saw as well as—for shits and grins—the cities I visited. I’m going to list Copenhagen as my favorite city for now because I loved the ambiance so much, and I think I’d love it even more if I got to spend more than one and two-half days there. Remember, though, that not one show was “bad,” though some were more boring than others. This is the first tour of Tori’s I’ve ever seen where a bad setlist has not ruined a show.


1. Nurnberg
2. Dusseldorf
3. Florence
4. Rome
5. Amsterdam
6. Paris
7. Stuttgart
8. Vienna
9. Copenhagen
10. Milan
11. Munich

Cities (including 2005 trip)

1. Copenhagen
2. Amsterdam
3. Rome
4. Hamburg
5. Vienna
6. Paris
7. Frankfurt
8. Antwerp
9. Stuttgart
10. Glasgow
11. Berlin
12. Dusseldorf
13. Bonn
14. Nurnberg
15. Newcastle
16. Nottingham
17. Manchester
18. Rotterdam
19. Wolverhampton
20. Milan
21. Brussels
22. Munich
23. Florence
24. London

My lovely sister purchased us a trip to my alma mater (Tampa) for the next few days, after which I’ll be returning to St. Louis for a few weeks to get operated on—don’t worry, it’s not terribly major)—make money rent-free, and prepare for a September return to Austin. During that time, I’ll be sure and post more goodies (under the entries for their respective cities) from my trip that I didn’t get to the first time.

This blog will not be (formally) updated until the ADP tour hits the US sometime in October, so here’s hoping that some crazy following the rest of the tour through Europe can keep videoing things. Speaking of which, I’d like to thank the 50,000 people who’ve viewed my videos and the several thousand who’ve (allegedly) kept reading this blog. This was my first venture into comprehensive multimedia reporting and the support—even if it’s just random IMs or myspace messages—makes me feel very good for having dedicated a bit of my vacation to bring y’all goodies. So thanks!

OK, back to wanting to slit my wr—I mean enjoying my 3029420938 hour flight.


Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Since this is what everyone cares about anyway...


This managed to upload itself to youtube sometime yesterday during the 13 hour between which I hit "Upload new video" and me rolling around in bed with some Scand...I mean falling asleep. It rocks and I know it and I hope you know it too.

Yesterday was an exciting day, beginning with a 14 hour train ride whose ferry crossing portion saw Sara and I crossing paths with Tori and her whole fucking crew during my first time on a large oceanliner and then almost ending up homeless in the C-P-H due to Sara having booked our hotel for May instead of June. We ended up staying in a hostel but it's like the nicest hostel in the world. It's a 20-story skyscaper that overlooks the whole city (we are on floor 10), so I won't complain too much.

Last night we went to the much-discussed Chrisiania neighborhood and I'm sad to report that it sucked. Not only were pictures strictly prohibited by the hippies that live/are homeless there, but said hippies are really junkies disguised as hippies, having crack or meth as their drugs of choice and burning rubber (literally---a tire! as their preferred aroma instead of something nice like patchouli.

Now, I must go find the Copenhagen venue with Jacob and meet Sara for the show. BYE!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Youtube is still not working...

...and I happened to bump into Tori on the ferry to Denmark today (though I ran away because Tash et. al were there), but I a working to get "Cruel" uploaded.

Monday, June 11, 2007

I have a video of Santa performing "Cruel"...

...which she does standing and with vocals a la 1998, however, youtube is going extremely slow and the hour of internet time I just wasted $10 on (for this sole purpose) is almost up, so it will probably be later this week before I can upload it. I'm tempted to upload it to yself, but I know some technically-saavy dumbass will rip it and upload it to youtube as if they recorded it them damn selves, so I'm not even going to entertain that.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

A wordless journey through Stuttgart

For your viewing pleasure! Note that youtube is slow lately and these might take a while to actually show up!

I'll write more later...

...but Munich and Vienna were fun, the cities that is, my visit to Vienna falling during their vegan festival--which was incredible. I can't say the same about the shows. The performances were outstanding, no doubt, but I refuse to get past the setlist monotony in and of itself. I have a feeling it might be like it as a result of (a) Marcel having left and (b) the guitarist trying to learn all the songs, but it's still pretty fucking lame.

Anymore, more later! I have to go try and find a branch of Deutsche Bank so that I can take money out of my bank account without paying any fees. Yay!

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

One of the main reasons Tori's voice is so awesome this year is...

...explained by the following picture (click to see larger):

Either Tori (a) has her vocals transmitted to this box and played to her via the earphone (i.e. so she can hear herself as she sings) I see going up her back and into her wig or (b) she is now battery-powered.

YOU decide.

Heads up...

As of 2005, the staff of Munchen's Philharmonie im Gasteig, the site of tonight's show, were camera nazis--no pun intended. As a result, unless she pulls, like, "The Wrong Band" out of her ass tonight, this bitch will NOT be risking losing his new camera.



...was, by leaps and bounds, the best show of the American Doll Posse tour thus far. It was better than 27 of 30 shows I saw in 2005 without question, and better than all but one show I saw in 2002-3. But let's not belittle it with superlatives: the Dusseldorf concert was a shining example of why Tori Amos is the most vital female performer of her generation.

It wasn't just the setlist, which WAS, in fact, flawless, opening with Pip and then into a Tori set opening up with a "Liquid Diamonds" "Caught a Lite Sneeze" one two punch and featuring the debuts of "Glory" "Purple People" "Marianne" "pancake" and a strange song from the early 1980's when Tori was known as "Just Ellen." No.

It was not just the performance either, "Fat Slut" augmented by an improv along the lins of "Fuckers/G8 Summit/Cock suckers/He raped my mother" the shouting throughout "Smokey Joe" or the flawless totality of "Marianne."

It wasn't sitting front row center.

And it's not the fact that Dan Phelps (on guitar) seems to be added on more and more songs each show (he's now featured on "Precious" "God" and played on "pancake" and "Tear" as well).

It's the whole fucking package. The energy. The sass. The fucking pussy. THIS is what "girl power" is, Spice Girls.

Videos will come soon!

And let me say that I only have one (formal) gripe about the tour thus far: TORI, PLEASE GET THE BODYSUITS TAKEN IN. THEY ARE TOO BAGGY AND MAKE IT LOOK LIKE YOU SHIT YOURSELF. KTHXBI!

Reflections on Paris and A'dam; musings on D'dorf

So, by now you've already read reviews/seen videos/heard bootlegs of both Paris and Amsterdam, so I won't opine to any great extent, but let's just say that Amsterdam was hands down the best performance of the tour and Paris was hands down the biggest let down (though certain parts of it were stellar so it's not the "worst" show by a long shot), mainly because Paris is always one of the top shows of the tour. For my money, this is how I'd rank the shows.


In other news, Dusseldorf is nowhere near as digusting as I'd heard it was, though it does seem benign, at best, which is a bit delightful to me after having spent the past two weeks in cities where one feels that he or she may be killed (on a regular basis) while crossing the street. Paris was far dirtier than I remember and Amsterdam was far more confusingly-orientated than I might have imagined. I also seem to have picked up a nasty stomach bug in Amsterdam.

But that qualifies as TMI I think! I'll write after tonight's show.

Monday, June 4, 2007

RE: Setlist complaints

I've noticed several snide remarks in various corners of the internet regarding a supposed "hypocrisy" to the posts here, specifically about my having said that the Milano show was "redundant." I guess my point is that it's perplexing for an artist like Tori, who goes on and on about her 150+ song back catalog, to play (essentially) the same setlist several nights in a row. Additionally, she's built her touring reputation on her setlist variance. I consider this constructive criticism. For a counterexample, go here.


Edit: does anyone else who travels notice that blogger changes languages every time you change countries? I SO do not know Dutch?

Edit 2: Oh! Look at this!

Sunday, June 3, 2007

California Love

(and yes, that is a Tupac reference)

I woke my first morning in Rome under, among other things, several effigies of a bizarre celebrity by the name of Renato Zero, who appeared to be Italy’s version of David Bowie, though far less successful at accomplishing androgyny, more likely than not due to his, well, Italian features, bushy eyebrows and all. Then again, women here seem at least moderately likely to shave their faces past age 23, so perhaps that’s not actually too strange. Of all the oddities to greet me at around noon when I opened my eyes, the most conspicuous one was conspicuous only in and of its absence: the sun.

You see, in some Italian apartments, it seems that a utilitarian metal shade on the outside of a given window doubles as a blind—and a screen, which is handy for mornings like these, the latest (at that time) I had woken up since well before I graduated college, though I suppose with the time change, I really woke up nearer to five, which is more typical than anything. Nevertheless, I didn’t see the sun until I had seen the clock (which glowed crystal clear in the shade), and I initially thought said clock was wrong.

That was just shy of a week ago at this point, and when I stepped down into the Rome underground that morning, I felt my clothing stick to me despite the sun that had been absent consisting, at that point, mainly of luminous cloud cover. I’m told that it was pushing 100 degrees then, though I haven’t looked at a proper thermometer in at least five years, so the only evidence I might have to go by is’s archives, if I choose to pursue that option once I have an internet connection available again.

Today, Milano is waving to me as I shoot backwards out of its Shen-tral-ay Stah-zee-own-ay on the Tay Jay Vay train, the contrast of Dolce and Gabanna models that make David Beckham look like trailer trash, buildings representing the worst of 1980’s mid-rise architecture, and a wintery rain with the Roman May I walked into last week coalescing into a composite of my time in Italy. I’d had extremely high expectations for Italy—mostly as a result of breaking the number one rule of travel—taking other peoples preferences as anything more than free Frommer’s books—and most of them were not met. On the other hand, I was told to expect many things that were not so great—Milano being grey, at best, and Italian men being mediocre lovers, and I’m happy to report that Milano is grey and busy-like, and Italian men are not mediocre (which, in my eyes, qualifies as bad) enough in the sack for me to opine. Let’s just say that I’d like to visit Italy again under different circumstances and in the middle of a summer like the one I thought I’d see throughout. Had I known that the fluke Rome thunderstorm that poured from the sky last Monday was actually a harbinger, I probably would have gotten over my affinity toward summer a few days earlier. It is only now that I shoot backwards from Milano’s Shen-tral-ay Stah-zee-own-ay, a “terminal” stay-zee-own-ay in the sense that you can’t go anywhere beyond on an open circuit, that I am prepared for European winter but hoping that my clothing sticks once again to my body as I enter a given metropolitan subway system.

This is where you come in.

Despite all of our talks regarding the Trans-Siberian railroad and Ljubljana and India, I always see us moving along a desert beach somewhere in Baja, man-planted palm trees replaced by harsh brush that is more than likely indigenous to that area, white Caribbean sand gone in favor of a rockier mix, the larger grains as relatively minute as their third coast counterparts as a result of the breadth—and depth—of the Pacific. I see us mostly naked and in black and white and without speech or sound. Just a silent film of sorts. But no music. Perhaps the sound of waves crashing. I’m not really sure. I actually see one of us with makeup on. But it’s just us. No sea creatures. Lots of seaweed, But only two pairs of eyes.

Well, three if you count the one photographing us.

If that sounds dramatic it’s because it is, because this is a serious subject with serious implications. I used to believe that the world before color pictures and television must have lacked color as well. I believed this until I was at least ten, and even now I sometimes have to remind myself—if only silently—that this is not the case, that the rainforest green of the Italian railway was just as green in 1940 when the railway was new, in 1840 when this particular railway wasn’t here, and centuries ago, when different arteries pumped cargo and people through Lombardy at much slower rates than the one at which the train that just sped by us—with only inches to spare—it traveling.

There will be color in our world, though, once the negatives of the beach scene are being developed by our actions, words, and presences, once the future is present, though I’m not sure what will happen once the present becomes past. My thought is that it might be like a children’s coloring book but it could be a dry-erase board or, worse, a transparency.

As we rise up off the sand at a non-descript hour of a dateless, hourless day, it gains a pale nude color as the half-orange sun de-eclipses pending our backs turning to it. You look at me and open your mouth a few times. I manage to comprehend, and as the last clump of sand crumbles down to grains between the final step of my right foot on the beach and the first step of my left one on to pavement, I respond. “I’m coming back for more.”


…was just as “grey” as many people described it to be; that’s really the perfect word for it. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, I don’t think. To me, there was a certain…busy-ness to the people of the city that complimented its drab architecture and energy that created an ambiance that was certainly different from the rest of Italy. Whether or not that different was a positive one remains to be seen, and I don’t feel proper making that judgment based off of less than twenty four hours here. Still, there’s something to be said about the contrast of Dolce and Gabanna underwear models (ed: they have to make you pay their prices somehow, eh?) with the worst of 80’s mid-rise stylings over a cloudy backdrop with well-dressed, miserable looking people. Think the Upper West Side meets West Berlin meets the nicer parts of Detroit. Or something.

The show itself was interesting in that it seemed to be a foil of sorts to the Florence show, but far less satisfying, by which I mean that the Florence show started out quite iffy and then proceeded to kick everyone’s ass, and this one kicked ass (see “Teenage Hustling”) from the beginning and then started to sputter (“Cornflake Girl” “God” “Siren” and “Liquid Diamonds” again?) before she even began the solo songs. I’m trying not to be like whateverhernameis, you know, a setlist snob. I can tolerate repetition. It’s just that all but two of the “Tori” band songs were repeats of the previous two nights, and that’s a bit frustrating, especially when she soundchecked “Marys of the Sea.”

I didn’t bother rushing (not that I’m honestly doing that lately anyway), and I actually sat in my seat behind a thousand (or more) standing people during “Jupiter.” Granted, it was probably one of the better version of the song I’ve ever heard, but my tired ass sho the fuck ain’t gonna stand up for a song she played two nights ago. Sorry.

Today I’m traveling via the Tay-Jay-Vay to France and by the time anyone reads this (if they do), I’ll be sitting in my hotel room, which is somewhere in Paris. If you are reading this, then you will know I was able to successfully ascertain a location for said hotel, and if you’re not reading this then, um, I don’t really know. I died?

No, the vegetables of the world are not so lucky. Anyway, I’ll write more during the trip probably and publish it a day later so that it doesn’t look like I’m a loser who takes eight hour train trips by himself with only a laptop to keep him company.

Oh, wait!