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Deseret News (US)
Utah newspaper
July 17, 2009

Amos takes 'Sin' album on tour

By Pat Reavy, Deseret News

For 19 years, Tori Amos has been making albums that look at spirituality, religion, sexuality, feminism and authority.

Her latest release, "Abnormally Attracted to Sin," is no exception.

"As a minister's daughter, I'm trying to get people to refine what sin means to them," she told the Deseret News during a recent phone interview from Seattle.

Having traveled all over the world, Amos said she has had the chance to observe and talk to a wide variety of women and see how their views of sexuality, spirituality, shame and guilt vary.

"If you're talking about sin, wailing into the sexual and spiritual, you have to look into the power," she said.

"Each song explores moments of feeling powerless... what you think is powerful. If you think a man over you is powerful, that's not really a powerful person. That's a person who abuses your authority."

The title of the album actually comes from the 1955 movie version of "Guys and Dolls."

At 45, the piano-playing songstress still tours heavily. But nowadays, her 8-year-old daughter, Tasha, is on the road with her.

"I find (touring) fun. The onstage adrenaline rush is so desirable. A lot of performers, when they walk off (the stage), they don't let that go. But you have to, because if you don't, it will destroy you. You can't contain that energy every day, 24 hours a day. The only way to get that adrenaline is being on stage. You have to hand it back to the muses and step back into human form again," she said. "You become a container for this really super-charged energy. You have to unplug by the end of the night. You have to stay really grounded in order to be a mom.

"The road is very much about discipline. The partying of the '90s... I have no idea what I did with all my time, because now, I have a hundred more things to do. Being mom, I'm working from early 'til really late," she said.

Time is also a balancing act when it comes to putting together a set list and deciding how to fit 19 years of music in a two hour and 15 minute set.

"That's really tricky," she conceded. "I don't usually buy into (feeling) 'obligated' (to play certain songs). What I do think though... I'm not the smartest person and I'm not the dumbest person I know... There's certain songs that work live," Amos said.

The eccentric and colorful Amos described putting together a set list similar to a rocket-ship journey where the passenger doesn't always want to be served anchovies and mushrooms. Sometimes that has to be mixed with a glass of champagne or a virgin pina colada, she said.

The same philosophy is apparently used when making a tour stop in Utah.

"I'm happy I have a wine cellar on the bus," she said with a chuckle, when asked if she had any memories of touring through Utah. "I'm always very popular when rolling through Utah, because I'm carrying half of northern California on my bus."

But Amos is also quick to point out she does not drink before a show.

"Stay in high heels and straddle a piano stool... that's enough of a challenge for a 45-year-old woman," Amos said.

Amos, who has sold more than 12 million records worldwide, has influenced many artists. But maybe none as special as the fifth graders from P.S. 22 in Staten Island.

The children have garnered nationwide fame after videos from hand-held recorders singing songs from Amos and others hit popular Internet sites such as YouTube. Amos recently got to see the children perform live.

"To me, that's a culmination of my career. When you have young voices singing (your song) and know they're making their own relationships with people from different backgrounds... this is why we go out every other year, this is why you do it. There's nothing that has made my heart beam like that than seeing those children sing the music," she said.

If you go...

What: Tori Amos, One EskimO

Where: Abravanel Hall, 123 S. West Temple

When: July 20, 7:30 p.m.

How much: $38

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