Many thanks to Brian Smith for sending this press review to the Dent.
Tori Amos performance well worth three-hour journey
Concert review: Tori Amos
Tuesday, April 8, Spokane Opera House
Tori Amos owes Spokane for her 1991 hit "Precious Things," she told a packed Opera House on Tuesday night.
"A boy from here taught me about comic books," she said.
The song was inspired by the unnamed boy, who was homeless until she took him in while living in California.
"If you don't fall asleep I'll play it for you later," Amos flirted.
That was about four songs into her sublime performance.
Amos bowed to the audience as she entered the stage wearing a flowing white dress that accentuated her fiery red hair.
With an earthy backdrop behind her, she hammered out hits from her catalog that were intermingled with tracks from her latest album, "Scarlet's Walk," a concept piece about a certain red-headed woman who travels across America in search of her country's identity, as well as her own.
Surprisingly, Amos didn't spend any time explaining the political content of her lyrics during her nearly three-hour set. Instead, the 40-year-old diva let her music speak for itself.
The house lit up like Christmas as Amos dived into her piano on her first song, "A Sorta Fairy Tale," the leadoff single from "Scarlet's Walk."
Throughout the night, Amos spun from piano to electric keyboard, often stretching one arm behind her to play both simultaneously.
The rock-steady backing of Jon Evans on bass and Matt Chamberlain on drums gave Amos plenty of space to explore her piano prowess.
Applause peaked off the meter when Amos sang favorites like the grinding "Cornflake Girl," from her 1994 platinum album, "Under the Pink," and her cover of The Stranglers' "Strange Little Girls," the title track to her 2001 album.
Sure, many of her songs are moody and contemplative, but Amos was still playful. She even did a little Michael Jackson crotch-cupping through a piano jam on "Past the Mission," also from "Under the Pink."
She shined about halfway into the concert in a solo set dubbed "Roadside Cafe." Her voice was supported only by her piano during songs like "Mother" from "Little Earthquakes." This was the ethereal Amos at her finest.
While the crowd was seated for most of the show, it stayed standing during Amos' double encore, in which she finally performed "Precious Things" and finished with "Putting On the Damage" from her 1996 album, "Boys For Pele."
By the end of the show, many audience members were leaning their elbows on the Opera House stage for a truly intimate closing.
Show opener Rhett Miller, frontman for the band Old 97's, played a short set that fans familiar with his music seemed to appreciate.
The only glaring fault of the night was that the Opera House stage lights were all but blinding to the audience, causing much squinting and looking away.
Beyond that, the tour of "Scarlet's Walk" was well worth the journey.