At Christmas time, I adore listening to Tori Amos’ CD ‘Midwinter Graces’, possessed since 2009, containing her own Christmas carols.
If you don’t know who she is, Tori Amos has continuously been releasing brave albums without choking for the last 23 years. Fairy tale musical ‘The Light Princes’ was one of the latest challenges she dedicated herself to.
To me, Tori has always been a pioneer in the music world. I found out about her after her second successful album ‘Under the Pink’ (1994), work rereleased this year.There are millions and millions of truly attached listeners, living her creations. This year I undusted some special memories about the artist’s first visit to Poland in 2001.
Poland 20 years ago, the music market… Not many people having money to buy albums, not many shops to sell them. But luckily for us, there was Piotr Kaczkowski from Polish Radio 3 becoming a true fan of Tori. Whenever interviewing her, he suggested she visit our country, ensuring her what amazing fans she had here.
‘Do you think people would really come to my concert?’
Of course we would, dear God!
So years went by and in the meantime Kaczkowski recorded Tori saying to us:
‘It’s 1:05 and I don’t know where I am right now physically in the world, but my songs are here with you, and maybe in a way I am too’.
This was heard on the radio each week during night shows, followed by some pearls selected for us – Tori’s concert performances and covers – showing her remarkable mastery in everything she touched.
I guess we were all by that time recording those sessions of two or three songs, sometimes just one 10 minutes long piece.
That ritual was part of our lives in some way, listening and gathering as much as possible without today’s unlimited access and saturation. I am speaking about history here, to me – by then a seventeen years old girl who knew close to seventy of Tori Amos’ songs by heart.
“Imagine seeing her in the corridor”
That was when Tori finally accepted the invitation to perform an intimate concert in the Warsaw Studio of Polish Radio 3. Before Christmas, after releasing ‘Strange Little Girls’, containing covers of songs about women written by men.
The concert was supposed to be small and you could not buy a ticket to it. We did not manage to win any of theten available tickets for non-VIP’s.
Instead we bought train tickets, and rushed to Warsaw, singing her songs on the way. From the station, we took a taxi directly to the studio (and yes, on the way we did hear a part of her interview and Christmas songs performed by her).
Outside of the building there was already a crowd of fans, some marking their excitement smoking cigarettes yet under age, people from all over Poland who previously only had known each other through correspondence. We, three brave teenage girls, were welcomed by fans we had never met before. People supported each other just to see the waving tip of her hand somewhere from the back of a black shiny car, that would be enough.
The interview was ongoing, right there, upstairs – and it was a magic feeling. No further expectations.
So imagine seeing her in the corridor, a tiny beautiful person. Surprisingly straight hair instead of her regular curly hair, red of course. Her bold manager saying something like ‘please, make a line. Each of you will receive an autograph from Mrs. Amos’.
All of us who were there could speak to her, hug her, get a signed CD and have a our photo taken with Tori.
I cannot find words to describe this dream come true. And I cannot explain how it all came to that we got to attend the concert on 16th of December 2001. Some of us standing against the wall, feeling so special, having the musical experience of a lifetime.
We all knew where she was in the world right then.
And now, fourteen years later, I just found the other side of the story, reading comments of Tori Amos gathered since that magical day, from many concerts that took place in our country. Tori’s personal (as always) thoughts on who we are, us Poles, or who we were:
“Boy, you people have fire, huh? Keeping that a secret from the rest of the world.”
Yes, I guess there’s always a special fire in my heart when listening to your music, Tori Amos.
Thank you, and have a ‘Merry Little Christmas Now’.
Text and photo by Beata Mordawska, December 2015
Quotes undusted thanks to: https://toriamospl.wordpress.com/tori-w-polsce/tori-w-i-o-polsce/