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Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
December 2, 2002

Added January 4, 2003

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Lucy sent me the following review of Tori's December 1, 2002 show in Milwaukee, WI from the December 2, 2002 edition of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Amos presents a musical journey;
Crowd treated to string of pop songs, show tunes and between-song ditties


Classical chanteuse, nightclub torch singer, new-wave songstress.

They were just a few of the roles Tori Amos slid into during her show before a sold-out crowd at the Riverside Theatre Sunday night.

Amos is in the midst of a national tour for her latest album, "Scarlet's Walk," a thematically tied string of pop songs, show tunes and between-song verbal and musical ditties that has Scarlet, likely Amos' alter-ego, on a cross-country journey of self-exploration and expression. Like much of her previous work, the music ranges from tight, specifically formatted songs to bits and dabbles of pop to classically based solo forays on the piano.

Striding onstage with her trademark crimson locks flailing behind her, Amos sat at a grand piano at center stage and rarely left it during the performance. Her band -- bassist Jon Evans and drummer Matt Chamberlain -- provided more embellishment than backing, prompting Amos into detailed, self-involved solo flights. More often than not during the two-hour show, Amos' piano and voice were the only sounds coming from the stage.

The set itself consisted almost equally of Amos' older singles and better-known album tracks and songs from "Scarlet's Walk."

Early came "A Sorta Fairytale," from the new album, a mix of vampy mist and alternative-rock balladry. Its mood and approach contrasted only slightly with Amos' early career hit "Cornflake Girl," which she played soon after.

Amos has been a national force on the pop scene for over a decade, having gone in and out of fashion and back again. Though ushered into the scene beside other early '90s, Lilith Fair-era female singer-songwriters, including Jewel, Sarah McLachlan and Ani DiFranco, Amos' style more specifically traces to artists a generation or two before her -- her half avant-garde classical/half pop-sprite sound more a cross of Nico and Kate Bush.

At times Amos' curt and dramatic verses against breathy choruses become predictable and tiresome. But her followers and other music fans who prefer their pop grounded in classicism and high drama like Amos for those very reasons.

By the second half of the show, Amos found and maintained the right mix of languor and lightheartedness.

During between-song bits, she recalled a gig she played years ago in Madison, where she fell ill and had to go to the doctor to receive a shot. The story, of course, came in song form -- complete with a dramatic piano crescendo at the point where the doctor plunges the needle into her skin.

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