The videos below illustrate the versatility of the song “Cruel”, which first appeared on from the choirgirl hotel (1998).
“‘Cruel’ was always one of the favorite live songs, especially when we were recording…what ended up being the live disc on To Venus and Back,” Jon Evans recently told PopMatters. “It was a real exploration, a kind of super-aggressive take on the song. It started that way in the studio, but it definitely took on a life of its own live. I know I used to break strings all the time on that song, because it was such an epic venting. The studio version is three and a half minutes or so and the live version was generally seven or eight minutes long. We’d have these long, drawn-out sections where she would improvise vocally and we would just try to keep building and building until she cued us. Which is also a really great thing about that, playing with Tori as opposed to so many people who are, say, pop singers, or in the rock world where everything is so scripted, with her there’s always a ton of improvisation. They never turn into hippy jams, but where there’s room to explore, she has always very comfortable doing that and letting things go where they need to go, knowing that we would be paying attention so when there’s a subtle queue we could get back to where we needed to be.”