Song Analysis

Don’t Make Me Come to Vegas

Thursday 22 September 2011, by Cécile Desbrun

(Coming soon! In the meantime, read Tori’s quotes about the song)

"I don’t know if any of you all have nieces, but um, Scarlet has a niece that just has pulled in this loser creature. And so, here she is, dealing with, ’oh great,’ and get this phone call from um, niecy-poo’s mom. And we don’t get into, you know, too much, but um, of Scarlet’s family and anything else, it’s all a bit ambiguous. But you know that there’s something happening with this beloved niece. And she’s uh, you know, I guess you could say being defecated on by this sort of voyeur... person.

So, it’s one of those moments where, even if you have a resolve to not go to a place and do something, there’s something that pulls at you, especially when you remember somebody as a little girl. Oh, you just cannot let them become moldy cream cheese for somebody. It’s just, you get an extra sort of ounce of fire. So that’s sort of where she is, it’s a little moment of being a vigilante, I guess." (Scarlet Stories CD)

In a further dream, she hears the cry of her niece, who is living in Las Vegas, 18 and in trouble. "The problem is that if Scarlet has to go to help her, she’s going to need to confront her own past. The Prince of Black Jacks, who runs the town, is an old flame. If she goes, she’s going to need his help.But she knows there’s going to be a price to pay - hence her cry, Don’t make me come to Vegas." (Scarlet’s Walk bio)

July 31, 2003 - Las Vegas, Nevada

Since Tori will undoubtedly be playing "don’t make me come to Vegas" tonight, I asked her to tell me the story behind the song and what it means to her. Here’s what she had to say...

One evening, when Tori was on her Strange Little Girls tour, she and Joel were talking about Natashya (who was only 12 months and 2 weeks old at the time) trying to imagine what it will be like when she’s all grown up. Soon, the day will come when Tori can’t just give her a kiss and a cuddle and tuck her safe in her bunk knowing all the while that she’s okay and, eventually, Tash will become a young woman and map out her own journey in life. With this realization, Joel looked at Tash and said, "Little Slim, don’t make me come to Vegas in 20 years...but if I have to, I will. And from there, the story began to take shape.

The young woman in Vegas is somehow related to Scarlet, perhaps her niece or goddaughter and is in over her head with the wrong man unable break free on her own. It’s not an easy feat, as the young woman has lost her power and self esteem and is on the road to self destruction as this man continues to use her in exchange for her meal ticket. Scarlet knows that she needs to go Vegas and rescue this young woman but the trip has its own set of personal complications for her. Long ago, when Scarlet was in Vegas, she found herself deeply in love with a man that she could never truly have. His first love was gambling and the various other temptations that this desert landscape uses to keep its prisoners. Now, to find this young woman, she has to open the door to her past and call upon her old flame since he knows everything and everyone in the city of sin. Scarlet’s relationship with this man ended without resolve and though its understood that they cannot be together, an old connection still exists for both of them. Scarlet’s maternal wisdom and concern for the young woman are stronger than her own fear of facing a past that’s been put away but not forgotten and though she’s reluctant, she’s willing to go. Now, because it’s not Tori’s style to wrap stories up into neat little packages, it remains unclear whether or not Scarlet actually makes the trip to Vegas but at the end of our talk, Tori tells me with a wink that she feels she did. (Posted on the Lottapianos Tour Diary)