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SonicNet (US, www)
August 17, 1999

Tori Amos Unveils New Songs, Tour Plans In Webcast

Singer/songwriter says '5 1/2 Weeks' tour will highlight differences between her and tour partner Alanis Morissette.

Staff Writer Chris Nelson reports:

Singer/songwriter Tori Amos pledged Monday that her upcoming tour with Alanis Morissette would channel the extreme emotions of last month's riotous Woodstock '99 festival into a positive arena.

"People are into tearing things up. ... I'd rather be loving it up with somebody," she said during her "Tori Amos: Live and Unrehearsed" webcast. "[Our tour] is about yeah. It's about hot."

With 15 radio-contest winners and their guests flopped about on plush sofas or lying on the floor, Amos performed a seven-song set that included the new tracks "Bliss" and "1000 Oceans," as well as crowd favorites and B-sides.

"[Our tour] is about, yeah, it's about hot." Tori Amos, singer/songwriter

During "Bliss," synth percussion throbbed in the background as the chorus athletically built to a crescendo. The song, released as a downloadable track on the Internet last week, is the first single from Amos' upcoming fifth album, to venus and back (Sept. 21). The set includes one CD of new studio songs and a second disc of live material recorded on tour for last year's from the choirgirl hotel.

Amos later said the first line of "Bliss" "Father, I killed my monkey" was inspired by Clunky the Monkey, an imaginary childhood friend who also made an appearance in the song "Marianne," from Boys for Pele (1996).

She performed the album's second, gentler single, "1000 Oceans," unaccompanied at the piano. Amos, who turns 36 Sunday, said she created American and European videos for the track, the latter of which features a lesbian kissing scene excised from the U.S. version.

Amy Webb, a 22-year-old fan who watched the webcast from her home in Charlotte, N.C., said she appreciated the electronic textures of "Bliss" more than the traditional sounds of "1000 Oceans."

"I know there's some old fans who aren't gonna morph with it, but I applaud her changing and not being static," Webb said. "It's not necessarily modern, but it's experimental."

The 75-minute event was as informal as it was intimate. Some fans lay on their stomachs, heads resting in their hands, as if watching Amos on their living room TV. For "Merman," a song from the recent Kosovo refugee benefit album No Boundaries, Amos had the lyrics scrawled on her hands.

Clad in an olive top and jeans, she sat between an electronic keyboard and grand piano, often stretching her legs out behind her or tossing her head toward the ceiling as she played. Between songs, she answered questions submitted online by fans and from VJ John Norris of MTV, which co-sponsored the webcast with SonicNet.

Amos said her "5 1/2 Weeks" tour with Morissette, which starts Wednesday in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., will highlight the differences rather than the similarities between the two impassioned performers. She said the two have no plans to perform together on the nationwide outing, which wraps up with shows Sept. 25 and 26 in Laguna Hills, Calif.

"If you come wanting it to be a battle, I'm not going to engage in that," said Amos, who will follow the tour with two weeks of solo dates.

Before Amos earned national attention in the early 1990s with such emotionally charged songs as "Crucify" and "Me and a Gun" ( RealAudio excerpt), she played in the little-known Los Angeles glam band Y Kant Tori Read. On Monday, she sang "Glory of the '80s," a new song presumably about her stint in the group, with the opening lyric "I took a taxi from L.A. to Venus in 1985."

Amos, who in 1994 founded the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network crisis hotline, called the rapes that allegedly took place at Woodstock '99 last month in Rome, N.Y., a "tragedy."

New York State Police say they are investigating eight sex crimes linked to the July 2325 festival in Rome, N.Y., five of which have been classified as rapes. They also made arrests in two other alleged sexual assaults said to have occurred during the event.

Although Amos was not at Woodstock, she blamed the arson, looting and vandalism that closed the show on bands making angry, aggressive music, and also on overpriced concessions.

"There's a lot of hate music out there," she said, adding later, "[But] you charge five bucks for a hot dog and all hell's gonna break loose."

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