A review of Tori's August 31, 2005 show in Millennium Park in Chicago, IL appeared on the web site of the Illinois Entertainer, a music monthly in the midwest.
Thanks to Missy for telling me about this press review. You can read this review online at illinoisentertainer.com, where they have a nice photo, or below:
Millennium Park, Chicago
Wednesday, August 31, 2005
Aside from the Gospel Music Festival and a handful of benefit shows (like a recent Gladys Knight engagement) Millennium Park has yet to be used as a ticketed rock concert venue. But that all changed when Tori Amos pulled into the Jay Pritzker Pavilion on her "Summer Of Sin" tour, opening up the outdoor amphitheater to a paying public for the first official time. And from the moment she began belting out with that signature blend of mystery and magnetism, it was easy to see why this setting worked. Not only was it acoustically pristine as Amos played piano, but the outdoor greenery and lightly blowing breeze couldn't have been more appropriate on this particular August evening.
Heck, lawn seats were only $10 and even though fans couldn't see much from that area, they could still sprawl out on blankets and take in the setting sun (just like at Ravinia). After getting used to this new location, the audience got excited for the real reason they came, which was to catch Amos on the latest leg of a jaunt in support of 2005's The Beekeeper. Like her past projects, the 19-track disc is loaded with radiant pipe progressions, delicate arrangements, and enigmatic songwriting. All of those qualities came out in full force as she opened with "Original Sinsuality," an airy yet angelic piece pounded out by Amos with pursed lips and her eyes closed. Other album cuts like "Barons Of Suburbia," "Sleeps With Butterflies" and "The Beekeeper" followed suit, further evoking a peaceful glow and the star's expansive range. A trip down memory lane also came courtesy of "Carbon" and "Amber Waves," both in the aforementioned style but from 2002's Scarlet's Walk.
They were even augmented with elder selections like "Crucify" and "Silent All These Years," both of which evoked the prowess of Kate Bush when first released but found additional maturity now that Amos has fully embraced her artistic individuality. Speaking of Bush, her '80s classic "Running Up That Hill" earned a stripped-down reworking within the framework of the older original "God," which also paved the way for other covers during a segment cheekily referred to as "Tori's Piano Bar." The ringleader honored a special request for Damien Rice's "Blower's Daughter" and also turned up the camp factor with Bette Midler's "The Rose."
But to the less fervent follower, there were a handful of obvious tracks missing from the otherwise generous two-hour set. Though Amos took listeners on a thorough trip through the new album and some deeper back catalogue cuts, she strayed away from a few on the commercial side (as chronicled on her Tales Of A Librarian retrospective). Granted, the term "casual observer" didn't apply to many gathered (as most sang every word of the evening sometimes louder than Amos) but even so the set list could've been even stronger with "Cornflake Girl," "Precious Things," and "Winter."
Yet even with these shortcomings, there's still something remarkably engaging about listening to Amos sing stories throughout her highly ethereal repertoire. Even after a decade and a half making music, she remains unpredictable and ambitious despite many of her peers having long since fizzled. Even more amazing is the fact that Amos is putting on significantly different concerts each night of this tour. Rather than riding out rote song orders, she's mixing, matching, adding, and subtracting each and every engagement, keeping diehards on the edges of their seats. And that dynamic, along with her aforementioned abilities to fill a place as sizable as Millennium Park, indicates a thriving future to go as far in any direction this songstress chooses to stroll.
-- Andy Argyrakis