Half of the first year

I’m waiting for the pirate to do her work.

Tori Amos came to Pittsburgh on November 6, 1998, on her “Plugged ’98” tour. I had been living and breathing her music for two years at that point. She had gotten me through the worst of middle school, she had been the reason I started reading Neil Gaiman’s Sandman comics, and she was going to be only four hours away from my hometown in Athens, Ohio.

My mom let me skip a day of school and drove us to Pittsburgh, a city we both loved anyway, and we went to that concert together. I made a huge glittery sign that the guards made me throw away before we entered. I was 14, and most of the audience was older than me and younger than my mom. When Tori came onstage, I screamed and screamed and screamed. The show was incredible, even if my mom did get disgusted and bored by Tori’s ten-minute version of “The Waitress,” with its world-filling refrain “I believe in peace, bitch.” I bought merch (my mom paid for it). I was giddy for hours after. My mom and I had a great weekend together. As far as first concerts go, it set a high bar.

A post came up on Tumblr a few weeks ago, promising bootleg downloads for the whole tour. My heart stopped. I clicked the link, but it was dead. I wrote the owner of the blog, asking whether there was a new source for that particular date. I told her why it was important to me, but when she wrote back, she only said that she’d be out of the country for the next few weeks and that she’d get to it in March.

My mother and I are in that crowd somewhere. I’m waiting for the pirate to do her work.

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