For me, one of the musical highlights of 2005 was getting to see Tori Amos in concert. I was especially thrilled to be sitting so close to the stage. I was, in fact, so close that I could have thrown my underpants right onto her keyboard, had I felt the urge. Thankfully, there were no such ugly scenes and the evening ended with an unsoiled Tori and lots of very happy fans.
A new dvd collection, ‘Fade To Red’, will bring back memories of that evening for some people. It is a 2 disc compilation of most (but, not all) of Tori’s promotional videos, from her earliest singles, to songs from her last lp ‘The Beekeeper’. A collection of this sort can make for dull viewing, but for the most part, this is a visually rich affair, from the dream-like images accompanying ‘Caught A Lite Sneeze’ to the snake-dancing and rat worship of ‘God’.
Unfortunately, the collection also highlights the drabness of some of her more recent work. Videos for ‘Sweet The Sting’ and ‘Sleeps With Butterflies’ from ‘The Beekeeper’ are among the more uninteresting. Like the music itself, they really lack the spark and inventiveness of earlier work.
For me, the highlights are the videos from the ‘Little Earthquakes’ period, particularly ‘Crucify’ and ‘Winter’. Tori looks so fresh-faced and vibrant, with her flaming red hair and scarlet lips. She even manages to make playing the piano look sexy.
The real treat for fans is the Tori Amos commentary. It’s as idiosyncratic as might be expected. We learn about Tori’s obsession with Ann Boleyn, her experiences with e-culture and what is feels like to wander through a forest blind-folded. It is also refreshing to hear her admit that she has ‘no idea’ what the video for ‘Tallula’ is about, rather than attempt some pseudo-psychoanalytical deconstruction of the work (which features Tori in a plastic box, a couple of scientists and a tightrope walker).
Other extras include two ‘bonus’ videos and a short ‘behind-the-scenes’ feature of the making of the film clip for ‘A Sorta Fairytale’. This video actually features some of the ugliest imagery I’ve seen in a pop video. (Tori’s head has been grafted onto a leg. The singing head rides a skateboard, falls into the gutter, then hops to the beach, where it meets Adrien Brody’s head (which is attached to an arm). The heads kiss and live happily ever after. Creepy!)
This is an essential purchase for fans. The uninitiated will probably wonder what all this fuss is about.