Thanks to Joe Briol and Lucy for making me aware of this press review. You can read it online at duluthsuperior.com or below if that link is expired.
Amos gives strong, glowing performance at DECC
BY V. PAUL VIRTUCIO
NEWS TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER
Forget the guitar. Pack away the drums.
Tori Amos makes people want to be a piano-playing rock star. And she also makes chair-dancing in vogue, too.
Performing before about 2,000 people Sunday night in the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center Auditorium, the red-haired singer and songwriter lit up her piano with her passionate playing and sat on her piano bench as if it were aflame: wriggling and shaking on ecstatic edge.
Amos' vocals, rising from resonant lows to piercing highs, sounded pure and intense. Amos is one of those musicians who are worth seeing live because their recordings -- no matter how well produced -- don't come near what the artists can do in person.
And she is also one of those musicians who doesn't rest on the popularity of the recorded versions of their tunes. Amos displayed no fear in re-creating her tunes to give her fans their radio favorites while still having something new to cheer about.
Amos, in an outfit that glowed golden under the stage lights, performed 18 songs drawn from all seven of her albums. She opened strongly with four popular tunes: "A Sorta Fairytale," from her current CD, "Scarlet's Walk"; "Crucify" from her debut album, "Little Earthquakes"; "Bliss" from her experimental live album, "To Venus and Back"; and "Cornflake Girl" from what is considered her best disc, "Under the Pink."
As she sang, she played one of four keyboards on either side of her: a piano with an electric keyboard on top on her left and two electric keyboards on her right. While she focused mainly on the piano, Amos sometimes had one hand on the piano and another on a keyboard at the same time, a visual delight for the audience.
Amos was hypnotizing and energizing at the same time, which is a doubled-edged sword. The audience sat silently during most of her performance with enthusiastic rounds of hooting and hollering between songs. However, there were lots of people who were inspired to move with the music and didn't want to just sit still. The two groups butted heads at times around the theater.
The appeal of Amos' music comes from her stark contrasts in styles, themes, stories and energies. One of the evening's highlights occurred with Amos' fun tune "Wednesday" from "Scarlet's Walk," a song that had a sense of ironic mirth punctuated by her breathy vocals. Another was her dark lullaby-like tune "Merman," which was haunting and maternal at the same time.
Then, after performing an elongated and airy cover of Fleetwood Mac's "Landslide," Amos jumped into her high-energy, radio-pop formatted tune "Concertina," again playing piano and keyboard simultaneously while dancing in between them, as if she were the arc of electricity joining the instruments.
Unfortunately, through no fault of Amos, the sound system constantly muffled Amos' vocals, making her lyrics somewhat indecipherable. And while longtime bassist Jon Evans and drummer Matt Chamberlain lent wonderful backing to Amos, they sometimes drowned her out.
Amos' Duluth debut was a treat for fans who have fallen in love with her weighty and witty lyrics. It was definitely worth the wait.
V. PAUL VIRTUCIO covers arts and entertainment. He can be reached at (218) 279-5536 or by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org