Hard Rock Live, Orlando, Fl • Nov. 16, 2007
There are artists who occupy their very own niche in the musical kingdom, artists who serve as pillars of originality within a world steeped in reruns. Tori Amos is most definitely one of these artists, and this is why her concerts never fail to fill up and why her fans are loyal to the death. A Tori Amos show is an event that many spend days or weeks preparing for.
In my experience her opening acts have never been the strongest, so my expectations were low when Yoav stepped out. Armed only with an acoustic guitar, the young Jeff Buckley look-alike (sound-alike, too, really) banged the percussion parts out on his instruments as much as he plucked at them. His voice was lost in between Buckley and Thom Yorke, and the music was pretty enough, but not solid enough to hold the audience’s attention for very long. He did perk my interest when he threw in a cover of “Where Is My Mind?” by Pixies, but that’s about the most involved I got with his performance.
It was Tori we had all come for, and when the lights fell and her band began to signal the start of the show by teasing us all with their instrumental intro, the hardcore Tori fans filled the Hard Rock Live walls with their torrential screams.
Touring behind her latest release, American Doll Posse, she has followed through on the concept created with the album in which the Tori Amos we know is split into 5 personalities. These varied characters are loosely inspired by Greek Gods, and are named Clyde, Pip, Isabel, Santa, and Tori. In a very Cindy Sherman fashion, each persona has a different dress and different hair color and style. For her introduction to Orlando, she came dressed as Pip – the dark haired, confrontational warrior woman who appears to embody the sexiest aspects of real life Tori’s personality. It is in this skin that she redefines the song “Cruel” in a near orgasmic performance that I’ll not soon forget. We’ve all seen Tori Amos hump her piano bench, now she finds that her hand does the job just as nicely.
It was a wonderfully sexualized and rocking Tori who stood before us this night (this was also the first time I’ve seen her stand for parts of her performance, rather than be confined to the seat between her piano and harpsichord). She plowed through a set of mostly new songs like “Teenage Hustlin” and “Big Wheel,” before running offstage to transform into her next character of the night.
Reemerging as the Tori character (complete with a long, red wig), she drove straight into a trio of songs from 1994’s Under the Pink – “Cornflake Girl”, “Past the Mission”, and “The Waitress”. Actually the bulk of the remaining hour of the set was packed full of old goodies like “God”, and “Caught a Lite Sneeze.” And tossing in “Precious Things” right at the very end was tasty icing on an already yummy cake for many of us old time fans.
I’ve seen Tori Amos a half-dozen times over the years, and this was by far the best show I’ve seen her give. It’s also the first time I realized how much sensuality absolutely pours out of not only her music, but her as a performer. She’s one of her own kind, no matter which wig she dons for the night.
To see more photos of this show, and others, go to www.jencray.com.