Read a review of Tori's August 31, 2005 concert in Chicago, IL from the September 2, 2005 edition of the Chicago Tribune.
Thanks to Missy and Magdalene Moon for telling me about this press review. You can read it online at metromix.chicagotribune.com or below:
Church of Tori holds a revival in heart of city
By Robert K. Elder
Tribune staff reporter
In "Crucify," one of the opening songs of Tori Amos' set in Millennium Park on Wednesday night, she proclaimed, "I've got enough guilt to start my own religion."
By the time she hit the stage at 8:30, she had enough fans--near capacity with 10,000--to turn the Jay Pritzker Pavilion into her own personal cathedral. The lights of surrounding office buildings stood in for candles on a clear, calm night.
Amos, playing solo, imbued the evening with a sense of intimacy--no easy feat in an outdoor venue--with songs such as "Black Dove (January)" and a stripped-down version of 1994's "God."
Wednesday's concert was an experiment for the city, the first ticketed rock event for the Pritzker stage. While WBEZ's quiz show "Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me," the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and others have held free shows in the space, Amos is the first pop star to inaugurate the band shell.
Amos recounted playing one of her first solo gigs at Schuba's and added, "It's very special that they asked me to be the first pop performance here [in the pavilion]."
With only a few minor bumps, it proved an ideal place to hear music and bid farewell to summer. Under architect Frank Gehry's web-work of overhead speakers, there wasn't a bad seat in the house. Lawn tickets went for $10, while seats near the stage were priced at $50.
Food was allowed, but drinks--including water bottles--were not. News of that policy didn't reach everyone and 300-some fans chose to stay outside and drink wine they brought.
"We tried to call [to find out details]," said Lisa Ellermann, 28, of Wicker Park. "There was an information line with no information on it. We thought it'd be just like Wednesday nights listening to the symphony."
Inside the venue, water and soda were priced at $4. Wine was $8; beer was $6-7 per glass.
Others who sat outside, like Susan Winterson, 27, of Edgewater, simply chose to find a spot on the wet lawn and listen with her boyfriend from the fringe.
"A wet bum is worth a free seat," she said.
Amos opened with "Original Sensuality" from her new album "The Beekeeper." The fiery-haired songstress brought out B-side favorite "Sugar" and turned "Silent All These Years" into a choral-like dirge that bled into "Crucify."
A dynamic, powerful singer, Amos can be a captivating performer, especially with a full band. Solo, however, the emotive singer/songwriter tends to slow down each song, stripping away the tempo and unique inflections that define individual tracks. Little distinguished the elastic verses of "Carbon" from a rendition of "Putting the Damage On," save their lyrics.
But Amos concerts are designed for the hardcore fans who know every word to every song, regardless of presentation. Like Bob Dylan touring in his sunset years, Amos has become a specialist, a self-indulgent one, making her audience strain to identify re-calibrated songs. The only spots where people didn't sing along were covers, including a version of Damien Rice's "The Blower's Daughter" and Bette Midler's "The Rose."
Several hundred fans rushed past security guards to the front of the stage for a four-song encore that included "Tear in Your Hand" and "Amber Waves."
"We're impressed; we loved it," said Carly Johnson, 28, who sat outside to finish wine with her boyfriend before finding their spots inside. "The sound is so good. It's like being in the heart of the city."