Tori Amos’ Summer of Sin Tour was my first concert. September 17, 2005. The Greek Theatre, Los Angeles.
I discovered Tori while I was a COMPETITIVE dancer. Late-90s – Mid-00s. A then unknown Mandy Moore would play her in class and we’d hear her constantly on competition weekends. If you were dancing during that time, you know a lot of Tori Amos music.
I was no stranger to live entertainment above my age bracket, but concerts were never really on my radar. Not the SPice Girls. Not NSYNC. I wanted to see the touring musicals. Duh. Then a former babysitter of mine who is a die-hard Tori fan told my mom that she was coming to LA and that we should go.
On a family excursion to the, what seemed to me at the time, super trendy Santee Alley I found the “perfect” outfit. It was this blousey, linen, thackery binx looking top. It was this sandy camel color but it looked like a watercolor in texture. very crunchy granola.
The day arrives. I remember parking in some lot a few blocks from the theatre that was a quarter of the price. Mom knows every venue parking hack in Los Angeles.
Enter venue. Merch booth. In true theatre kid fashion, I keep asking where my Playbill is. I need my souvenir, my memory, my proof that I was there, My glass slipper.
“Hello! How are you? May I please get (pointing) that t-shirt and a program?”
I see a stack of programs on the counter so I go to grab mine and the merch person says, “Oh, those are for display. Let me get you a new one.” So sweet!
We get to our seats and I start flipping through the program. Gorgeous photo after gorgeous photo of Tori. Fierce lyrics printed across them. I was in heaven. I remember it like it was yesterday.
Wait. Stop it. I flipped the page and there, in the centerfold, is a giant Tori autograph. I died.
“Mom. Mom! It’s signed.”
“Nooo. I’m sure they’re all printed like that.” she says.
Now, having been no stranger to stage doors and examining the autographs I accrued, I know what sharpie looks like on a program. This was legit. I told her that. She suggests we watch the people in front of us flip through theirs and anxiously wait for them to flip to the page in question.
Flip. Flip. Flip. Flip.
There! Unsigned. We both cover our mouths because if we don’t we will scream. My former babysitter, who had better seats but found us to say hello, couldn’t have been more jealous – and excited for me.
What strikes me the most is that the person working the merch booth noticed me. Those weren’t display copies!! Maybe they Noticed I was the youngest person in a 5,900 seat theatre. Maybe they Noticed how excited I was. They Noticed something that made them pause and take the extra minute to make my night extra special.
I wish I could say thank you. Maybe this piece, inspired by a photo by Burak Cingi, 2015, can be that thank you.
Just typing all this out and recounting that night is hitting me hard. It was one of the best nights of my life. The perfect first concert.