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Elton John, 1974

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Tori Amos will soon hit the road to support her rich, trip-hop-laced new album, from the choirgirl hotel, and inevitably the audience will contain more than a few awed kids taking in their first-ever show. Twenty-four years ago it was Amos — then 11 — who was the wide-eyed first timer when a friend took her to see Elton John at the Capitol Center in Landover, Md.

”We were pretty little in those years, so we snuck down in front. I tried to get as close as I possibly could to watch his hands at the keyboard. I really loved it. It felt like I could just pull up a sleeping bag and sleep right there under his piano. I was a huge Zeppelin fan at the time, and it took me a while to get into Elton, just because ‘Your Song’ wasn’t really my thing. I was into Jimmy Page. I wanted to be Jimmy Page. Elton was one of few piano players I really, really, really spent a lot of time listening to. When you think about it, songs written like that on the piano were really unique; it didn’t sound like anybody else. It wasn’t copied or rehashed. But my favorite thing about the concert was his shoes. He was wearing some ridiculous platform extravagance, something only a queen could wear. I have a love for shoes. I collect them. Race cars, paintings — those aren’t my thing. I just hang shoes on the wall. They’re architecture, you know?”

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