From my 3rd row seats at Boston's Orpheum Theatre in 2011.
I cried, happy tears!
I always say I am Tori's "eldest" fan, meaning most of her fan base are now just on the far side of their 30s, on the threshold of pushing 40, while I am three years older than the artist herself. Nowadays, when I go to her concerts, I don't feel nearly as out-of-place as I did about 10 years ago when I went to see her at the Tsongas Arena up in Lowell, and all the UMass students were in the audience. I believe I was the oldest person there. I stuck out like a sore thumb, but I knew all the lyrics and they didn't! Hah! (if you click on that Tsongas Arena link, it's video of her playing "Little Earthquakes" during the show, the hand-clapping-with-rings you hear at the beginning and end is me ... a guy sitting next to us videotaped the whole show. You can even hear me talking on the tape at various places -- embarrassing!)
I first "met" (no I haven't really met her) Tori in 1998 when I was flipping the channels on the TV in my living room, wondering what to watch one night when Gil was away in Tobago on one of his months-long trips. I landed on VH1 and would have kept changing channels, but what I saw on that screen absolutely mesmerized me. It was the show called "Storytellers" (this link is the entire show that someone was kind enough to post on YouTube). I believe Storytellers may still be aired in some incarnation, even though the network VH1 itself has become unrecognizable. But anyway, there was this woman, this creature, playing the piano and singing. I had heard of Tori before, but I didn't really know any of her songs. I became absolutely riveted to the TV and couldn't take my eyes (and ears) off this incredible musician. Instantly hooked, I went out and bought all of her CDs the next day and began my obsession, playing them on a portable Sony "Walkman" CD player which was hooked up to the cassette player and cigarette lighter in my car. Every time I went over a bump, the CD would skip, but I didn't care. I wore out these CDs, especially the latest one "Boys For Pele" which still remains my favorite Tori Amos album (other fans would disagree, strongly).
I have since had the good fortune to see Tori in concert six times :) Here's Tori covering Elton John's "Someone Saved My Life Tonight" at the 2011 Boston show during her classical tour promoting the classical album "Night of Hunters". During that show, she toured with a stringed quartet and no band: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A02pIwNh4Lc (no that is not me yelling "WOOOOO", thank goodness!). To demonstrate the diversity of this artist, here's Tori at the same theatre in Boston, in 2007, during her "American Doll Posse" tour in which she portrayed different characters each night of the show. This is the character of Pip. Also, during that tour she had her regular rock band in tow: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MxbFcfMQZQY
Anyone who follows me on Facebook knows about my obsession with Tori. But I am not alone. Most of her fan base is a so-called "cult following", very obsessive bunch. Like the Grateful Dead back in the day (yes, I had the good fortune to see them live several times), Tori must be seen live. It is a requirement. Don't just listen to a studio album. You won't "get" it. Don't even listen to a live recording (there are many, I have over 800 Tori "songs" on my iTunes, most of them live recordings of the same songs that go around in bootlegs). You still won't "get" it. See Tori live, either on video or better yet in person. As with the Dead, no two shows are ever the same, she never plays the same song exactly the same way twice. She is a brilliant musician, even if the lyrics are sort of controversial and there are swear words.... the show is not-to-be-missed. But even if you do have the opportunity to see her live, unfortunately, some people still don't "get" it!
Tori happens to also wear the coolest shoes.
Well, that's my happy birthday take on Tori turning 50. I can hear her making up a ditty about herself right now, it'd go something like "I'm fif-tay, fif-tay; Happy birthday to me, I'm fif-tay"