Thanks to Heather Mayes (lilfaerie), John Ankeney and Shelly Harris for sending this press review to me. You can read it online at dallasnews.com or below if the link has expired.
Fascinating Amos all-encompassing in marathon show
BY THOR CHRISTENSEN / The Dallas Morning News
GRAND PRAIRIE - Early on in Tori Amos' concert Wednesday night at NextStage, some over-excited fans up front began shouting out song requests - to which singer smiled, paused and calmly replied "Do I look like a jukebox?"
You want a performer who'll churn out the greatest hits, then go see Cher. With Tori Amos, the show depends entirely on her muse and her mood.
On Wednesday, she was in an all-encompassing state of mind, traveling from obscure oldies to hits like "Cornflake Girl" to a torch song version of "Dixie." At 2 hours and 15 minutes straight - and with almost no interaction with the crowd - the concert was a lot to digest, even for her most devoted worshippers.
Yet aside from a few slow stretches, it was a mostly fascinating show. Ms. Amos's aversion to playing a song the same way twice led to some bold reinventions: "Crucify," from her debut album, grew a new techno-trance intro and a locomotive ending while the Under the Pink gem "Bells for Her" turned slower and artier with bowed upright bass from her longtime band mate Jon Evans.
She devoted a sizable chunk of the show to Scarlet's Walk, her recent concept album about traveling across America after Sept. 11. Cracking Tori's code of idiosyncratic verse is no easy task - especially in a theater without a lyric sheet - but at least the melodies shone through, especially in "A Sorta Fairytale" and the strutting jazz-soul ditty "Wednesday."
As usual, she peppered the set list with cover tunes: A lovely, leisurely version of Dion's 1968 hit "Abraham, Martin and John" and a jazz-ballad overhaul of Fleetwood Mac's "Landslide," which, for the record, she was covering back when the Dixie Chicks were still playing street corners.
With her subtle phrasing and her glorious arsenal of trills, sighs and moans, Ms. Amos could have sung "Wooly Bullyî Wednesday night and made it sound like a revelation. In a field jammed with showboats and drama queens, she's the rare singer who knows how to be operatic without ever being bombastic.
Dallas singer-guitarist Rhett Miller opened the show with songs from latest solo album, The Instigator and a handful of Old 97's tunes.
Performing sans band in front of huge red curtain, he looked like a vaudeville performer who'd get the hook if he didn't get earn enough applause. But he had no problem winning over the Amos devotees with his rubber-limbed enthusiasm and well-crafted solo tunes like "Our Love" and 97's rockers like "Indefinitely."