The review is from the February 22, 2003 edition of the Palm Beach Post. Thanks to Woj for bring it to my attention.
You can read it online here or below.
Amos' passionate delivery spellbinding to her faithful
By Christa Nieminen, Palm Beach Post Arts Writer
Tori Amos has devotees, not fans.
Her concerts are always a bit frightening. Not as in Nightmare on Elm Street scary or Stepford Wives creepy but in the way that the ardor of newly initiated religious cult members can be a bit unnerving. Thursday night's show at Boca Raton's scenic Mizner Park Amphitheater was no different.
I've listened to Tori Amos since 1992's Little Earthquakes and immediately fell in love with her passionate piano-playing. Having seen her several times over the last 10 years, I keep expecting the crowd to age with her, with me. Mellow. But, they don't. And she doesn't.
Sure, there are those of us who are there because a) we enjoy her music and b) we like to relive our college years, but there are also the young ones (and some not-so-young) who are rabid fans, the ones who dress for Amos. Literally. Each time I see her, I am mesmerized by her legions of followers, who attire themselves in angel's wings and devil's horns and cry, no, weep as Amos sings fervently about religion and sex and let's face it, some topics indiscernible due to the cryptic, autobiographical nature of her lyrics.
Thursday's performance began with Amos offstage singing the short a cappella track Wampum Prayer from Scarlet's Walk, her latest offering. Following, a red curtain dropped and Amos appeared to address the crowd with a simple, but endearingly meek, bow. Accompanied by Jon Evans on bass and Matt Chamberlain on drums, she took to her piano and began A Sorta Fairytale, the first single from Scarlet.
While CDs convey the intensity of her music, the Tori-Amos-live experience falls within a completely different category. Often playing her piano and electronic keyboard simultaneously, she writhes on the piano bench and moves seamlessly between melody and harmony, paying no attention to traditional right-hand and left-hand parts. Her vocals meander from an elfin soprano to a hoarse alto and all ranges in between as varying fabrics of her playing are revealed.
Evans and Chamberlain are stellar musicians. They help to create the seamless quality of Amos' performances. For example, most of the introductions to her songs had been rearranged, generally building in intensity. This often made the songs a mystery until a minute or so into them. When the song did become clear, the audience would roar, almost as if they were literally falling into each song. Chamberlain's drumming was often showcased in these introductions. There is a human metronome and it is Chamberlain.
While she performed several songs from her more recent records, especially from 1998's from the choirgirl hotel, Amos did offer some classics. The band provided a stirring rendition of Cornflake Girl. One of the highlights of the evening was an arrangement of Crucify, during the first of three encores. The bass served as melody for a good few minutes of a long, but enjoyable, introduction. Much of the crowd launched into eerie hand gestures, as she sang "Why do we crucify ourselves," as if some mystical choir director were conducting them in unison.
As always, one of the most intense moments of the evening was during Precious Things, a song about memories, rejection and pain. The song began to build into a frenetic piano part. That, combined with the swirling kaleidoscope lighting and the image of the wind blowing Amos' hair as she attacked the piano sent the crowd into a frenzy.
Amos played for more than two hours with no sign of fatigue despite the emotional outpouring she puts into her music. The majority of the crowd stood for the entire show with no sign of fatigue or decreased interest. I, on the other hand, was exhausted.