If you have never been to MGM National Harbor, it is similar to being inside of an airport. There are an assortment of high-class restaurants and boutiques amid a casino, a theatre and an impressive outdoor water fountain. From the balcony outside the building, one can see the skyline of D.C. and also all of the traffic slowly making its way in and out of the city – the perfect spot to get a selfie to use as your next Tinder profile picture.
On Friday, Nov. 3, musician and world-class pianist Tori Amos performed at MGM National Harbor. Before the performance, MGM was bustling with a diverse group of people, all bonded in their admiration for an artist who embraces trauma through music. At the age of 21, when first beginning her career as a musician, a fan brutally raped Amos at knife point after he offered to drive her home from one of her shows.
Although initially crippled by the sexual assault, Amos confronted the abuse through her music when she released the song, “Me and a Gun” in 1992. In addition to “Me and a Gun,” Amos has a variety of other songs that survivors of sexual assault are likely to find power in. Although sexual assault can be an uncomfortable topic to address, it is necessary to have conversation about it, as is obvious in the recent allegations against Harvey Weinstein, Donald Trump and Kevin Spacey, especially in a world where one in six women is sexually assaulted, and 99 percent of rapists remain unprosecuted.
Amos took the stage by storm when she emerged dressed in a red dress with bell sleeves. Complemented by her red hair, Amos literally appeared to be on fire. Additionally, the backdrop of the stage portrayed a forest fire, and the vibrant and active stage lights gave the image movement. Later in the show, Amos changed the tone of her set when the image switched from a forest fire to a snow colored mountain, and the lights showed more purples, blues and greens than red and orange.
Although she did not perform “Me and a Gun” Amos performed many other powerful songs with undertones of combatting sexual assault. She sang “Blood Roses,” which states:
“Blood roses, blood roses back on the street now.
Can’t forget the things you never said.
And on days like these starts me thinking.
When chickens get a taste of your meat girl.
You gave him your blood and your warm little diamond.
He likes killing you after you’re dead.”
As Amos performed “Blood Roses” the hostile tone of the song was palpable throughout the theatre. Additionally, Amos performed her song, “Girl” where she remarks:
“From in the shadow she calls
And in the shadow she finds a way finds a way
And in the shadow she CRAWLS
Clutching her faded photograph my image UN DER her thumb
Yes with a message for my heart.”
Amos effortlessly sang as she maneuvered back and forth between an organ and a grand piano, using both in each song. Her remarkable performance was enhanced with the emotional energy of both Amos and her audience alike. The audience was brought to life by Amos’s performance; everybody was cheering, some people were crying, others shouted out “I LOVE YOU TORI” between songs. Regardless, Amos’s music left a unique impression on everyone at the concert. And honestly, who would not love Amos after being a part of her show and allowing her music to be a part of their life?