Fade To Red (DVD)

Tori Amos

Rhino, 2006


REVIEW BY: Sean McCarthy


Tori Amos's shrinking but still very dedicated fan base is the type that actively seeks out bootlegs, obscure B-side collections and will most likely continue to buy everything she puts out, regardless that many are saying she hasn't released a decent album since …From The Choirgirl Hotel.

It doesn't matter that next album may be THE one to bring back the glory days of Under The Pink and Little Earthquakes. In the meantime, fans will tide themselves over by buying all of her CDs, as well as other media, such as her autobiography Piece By Piece.

That said, Tori Amos could have released a smattering of her videos, added a cheap couple of extras and pumped out a 'greatest hits' DVD collection and it would have been serviceable enough for most fans because the DVD would put her video collection into a single casing. Thankfully, the two-disc collection Fade To Red goes beyond the typical video collection format. It is beautifully packaged and wisely avoids the typical chronological order of videos. Assuming the batteries of their remotes are dead, fans of Amos' first three or four albums will need to sit and give songs like "A Sorta Fairytale" and "Sleeps With Butterflies" a second (or first) listen while waiting for "Cornflake Girl."my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The extras include a standard "making of" video for "A Sorta Fairytale." Technically, the video is a small marvel, as we see Adrien Brody's and Tori Amos's heads attached to body parts as they struggle to make themselves whole again. Unfortunately, the routine talk about the difficulty of shooting the video and director Sanji's "vision" gets a bit rich as far as ego-stroking goes.

Fans are likely going to get more out of Tori Amos's comments about the inspiration (and meanings) for some of her songs than the videos (she does both for the commentary). For example, you hear more about how her fascination with baptism, waitresses and Anne Boleyn has influenced her writing. And the song "Past the Mission" was inspired by Hernan Cortes, the Spanish conquistador. She refers to herself in the third person when she's explaining the situations that she is in during most of the videos, making it nearly impossible to a) take her too seriously and b) not compare her to a professional athlete.

As far as the videos, her collection reminds us that Amos wasn't particularly a video artist, yet her videos are distinctively hers. They may not have the artistry of Bjork's collection, but with images like the shocking contract between the white background and Tori's brilliant reddish-orange hair as well as the "flipping pages"-like editing of a song like "Silent All These Years," the videos easily recognized by most video-obsessed music geeks.

As the video budgets grew, some of the later-era videos become less interesting. "Bliss" is sort of Tori's "Living On A Prayer," complete with sweaty bandmates and fuzzy, black-and-white shots of the crowd. The only exception is "1000 Oceans," which features a small-scale riot going on right outside of Amos's glass-encased box.

A minor technical glitch to note -- the volume is inconsistent as hell for some of the songs. When I put in disc 2, it was if I cranked the volume from '2' to '9'.

It's hard not to feel bummed at the conclusion of Fade To Red. For a viewer who grew up on Tori Amos, the DVD collection is a reminder of when MTV and VH-1 used to play videos (suspend your disbelief and it seems like you just got done watching a one-and-a-half hour block of Tori videos on MTV's 120 Minutes). The videos in her earlier career were in semi-heavy rotation (enough to get on Beavis And Butt-head) and thus, created a sort of shared experience with a mass audience. However, with later-era Tori, the only way most of these videos could have reached their audience was through obscure Web sites.

Rating: B

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2006 Sean McCarthy and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Rhino, and is used for informational purposes only.