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Short Takes: Tori Amos and Yellowjackets give audiences strong sets
R.E.M. singer Michael Stipe once asked Tori Amos if he could borrow her audience.
It's no mystery why. Walking into a Tori Amos show is like interrupting a love affair between her and her fans. They adore everything she does and, better yet, they come to listen. Even Rhett Miller, who opened for Amos Sunday night at the Palumbo, remarked on how receptive they were.
Amos spent a busy day in Pittsburgh Sunday, first playing a radio gig for WYEP, but she had plenty left for the stage. She strolled out looking like a gypsy fortune teller and took her place between an assortment of four or five keyboards and her two favorite musicians, bassist Jon Evans and drummer Matt Chamberlain.
They provided heavy muscle on the bottom, playing as if they were in a jazz fusion band, and Amos put the top on it with her sexy siren voice and elegant piano lines. She drew heavily from her new record, "Scarlet's Walk," but didn't leave any of her former records untouched, pulling out favorites like "Cornflake Girl," "God," "Girl" and a version of "Bliss" that shook the rafters.
Among the new songs, "A Sorta Fairytale," "Amber Waves" and "Sweet Sangria" all had a welcome pop drive, and "I Can't See New York," with its poignant subject and Zeppelin-inspired organ, was a showstopper.
Miller was in charge of the rock 'n' roll portion of the evening, and the singer for the Old 97's did it effectively with just his rangy voice, boyish charm, clever songwriting and furious strumming on his acoustic guitar.
Review by Scott Mervis, Post-Gazette Weekend Editor