Click this logo to go to the Tori News Page

Boston Phoenix
November 21-28, 2002

Added November 23, 2002

 Tour Info
 Search / Map
 Entry Page

A review of Tori's November 17th concert in Providence, RI was printed in the November 21-28, 2002 issue of the weekly Boston Phoenix. Thanks to Don Burgess and Marla Tiara for the news. The most infamous line of the review says, "She was nonetheless joined by a three-man backing
ensemble that included acoustic guitar, bass, and
drums. The guitar itself barely made an impact". Perhaps the guitar made little impact because THERE WAS NO GUITAR... :)


SOLO TORI? BAND-BACKED TORI? Amos's current tour splits the difference.

Tori Amos's two previous albums, last year's Strange Little Girls (Atlantic) and the new Scarlet's Walk (Epic), have marked a major departure for the once controversial daughter of a Methodist minister who grew up learning classical piano as Ellen Amos in Maryland and North Carolina. Now a long-time resident of Cornwall, Amos has, as a songwriter over the past decade, earned a reputation for drawing directly from personal experience. Her blunt and at times brutally confessional lyrics have been tempered by impressionistic, often cryptic poetics that leave room for fans and critics alike to read into them what they will. But it would have taken a lot more than flowery prose to blunt the impact of her most notorious song, "Me and a Gun," a stark a cappella track from her first CD, Little Earthquakes (Atlantic), that detailed her own rape experience. So when she opted to record an album, Strange Little Girls, of songs written and sung from the perspective of a dozen different fictional characters, the ground beneath the feet of Amos's fervent fans shook a bit. And now that she's followed it up with another fictional narrative, this one winding its way throughout Scarlet's Walk (an album that Amos herself has likened to "a sonic novel"), it's fair to assume that she's left some of those fervent fans a little shaken themselves.

Fortunately, this new-found sense of distance does not seem to have affected her live performances. Indeed, the Tori Amos who held the stage for over an hour Sunday night at the majestic Providence Performing Arts Center was all but indistinguishable from the Tori Amos who has been touring clubs and mid-sized theaters since she first emerged as a solo artist (after a brief stint fronting the '80s hard-rock/metal band Y Kant Tori Read). Amos has employed different touring strategies in the past: she's appeared as a lone woman with piano at venues like Harvard's Sanders Theatre, and she's presented herself as part of a guitar-powered rock band at clubs like Avalon. But always, she and the piano she rides like a wild stallion have been the center of attention. And there's never been any doubt that that the turbulent emotions she projects from her perch at the piano come straight from the heart.

Amos's current tour splits the difference between the solo Tori and the band-backed Tori. Dressed in a flowing black-print gown and seated between two sets of keyboards in Providence, she commanded center stage, and the combination of her soaring, soulful voice and her forceful piano playing formed the sonic backbone of the set. She was nonetheless joined by a three-man backing ensemble that included acoustic guitar, bass, and drums. The guitar itself barely made an impact, and next to the deep, resonate bass notes Amos pounded out of her piano, the bassist often seemed redundant. All the same, the presence of a rhythm section gave her the freedom to draw deeply from her songbook, and to pull off a rousing rendition of the Rolling Stones' "Angie" as her final encore. Like "Wednesday" (a track from Scarlet's Walk that finds the protagonist of the album "lost in a place called America" but that live seemed equally to express Amos's own feelings about being away from home on an extended tour), "Angie" took on its own meaning in Amos's hands. Although originally written as a boy-girl love song, it became a prayer for a lost soul. And as with all of Amos's material, it was hard not to think that she had someone specific in mind.


Go Back To Articles

Go Back To ToriNews

Please give me feedback, comments, or suggestions about The Dent. Email me (Mikewhy) at