Many thanks to kissingviolets for letting me know about this press review. Read it online at buffalonews.com or below.
Tori Amos rocks Shea's with inspired piano and inspirational words
By JEFF MIERS
News Pop Music Critic
Shea's Performing Arts Center
"Scarlet's Walk" led Tori Amos through Buffalo on Thursday night.
She stopped awhile, sang some songs, touched some hearts, and was back on her way, straight toward some mythical America only she and a select few others believe actually exists. After last night's show, count this writer among the believers.
Amos, joined by bassist Jon Evans and drummer Matt Chamberlain, tore a hole in the heart of Buffalo with her two-hour show. The pain was more sweet than bitter.
As the lights went down and a red gauze curtain was backlit by swirling lights, "Wampum Prayer" blasted over the house system, and the crowd went nuts. Evans and Chamberlain laid into the groove that serves as bedrock for the brilliant "A Sorta Fairytale," and then there she was, looking like some beautiful cross between Gaia and the female equivalent of Led Zeppelin's Robert Plant.
Seated between her Bosendorfer grand piano and a stack that sat atop a Fender Rhodes, Amos grabbed her music, and her audience, by the throat. This was no precious and tender tea party, but rather, a show that packed much of the drama, dynamics and real rock fury of her beloved Zeppelin into a show that essentially revolved around a piano-driven power trio. Amos was in fine voice, and as usual her piano playing was inspired, spontaneous in spots, dynamic and melodically sound throughout.
That's no surprise. What might have been surprising for those who have never seen Amos with a band is the power that Chamberlain, one of the best drummers in modern rock, brought to the table. As Amos launched into "Bliss," Chamberlain made it plain that he had no intention of hanging in the background. He alternately swung, shuffled and dug into a serious "four on the floor" backbeat reminiscent of both John Bonham and Elvin Jones at various times. Evans, too, made his mark; employing a volume pedal and a host of sparse effects, he recalled at times the fretless work of Jaco Pastorius on Joni Mitchell's "Mingus."
With a band as great as this, Amos had little choice but to shine, and she did; the torrid "Bells for Her," from the "Under the Pink" album, was an early highlight, with its ominous chorus "Can't stop what's coming/can't stop what's on its way." "These Precious Things" offered an inspired blend of heavy rock histrionics and thoughtful, dynamic interplay. "God" was on fire, passionate, full of a willful blurring of the lines between the sacred and profane, the sensual and the just plain sexual.
Throughout, Amos' music screamed compassion, empathy and familiarity with loss. It was in her achingly beautiful voice, her somehow melancholy piano arpeggios, her elegant phrasing. Two songs into her encore, she summed up the night in her own lovely, understated words:
"You don't know the power that you have/with that tear in your hand." Indeed.