Thanks to Jen W. for making me aware of this press review. The Columbia Daily Spectator is the daily newspaper of Columbia University and the Morningside Heights community. You can read the review online at columbiaspectator.com or below if the link is expired.
The Cornflake Girl Adds More Milk
By Francesca Hoffman
Spectator Music Writer
Tori Amos graced the stage of Radio City Music Hall on the eve of March 7th to share her musical gift with her devoted fans. She sauntered onto the stage, donning an outfit reminiscent of Stevie Nicks in her Gypsy phase, long red hair flowing, smiling big. She sat at her famed piano bench, surrounded by her three instruments, the Boesendorfer, the Wurlitzer, and the Fender Rhodes piano. She opened with "Wampam Prayer," a song off her new album, and her sweet, seemingly iridescent vocals sashayed through the ears of the audience.
Throughout the concert, she switched between her three pianos, at times playing two at once in her now-famous onstage position: legs straddled across her piano bench. Sexy and sultry onstage, she manages to hold onto her mystery offstage. She is a woman who has suffered and today proclaims her love of life in her music. Her appreciation and fascination of the beauty of the world and its people are apparent from her incredible voice and her swift fingers, which bring to life original, soulful, and surreal compositions.
She performed songs from all of her past albums, emphasizing her new work but featuring new arrangements of the old, including "Crucify" from her debut breakthrough album Little Earthquakes. Accompanied by profound repeated lyrics, her piano solos seemed to crescendo, crash, and create a beautiful illusion with her sorrowful wails and words that physically shake her entire being. She is capable of expressing the deepest emotions without uttering a word with her piano. The piano solo in "Cornflake Girl," a song from her album Under the Pink, moved audience members to close their eyes and move their bodies to the music created by this one phenomenally talented woman whose breathy voice induces chills onto the human body.
She performed no less than eight songs from her new release, a concept album titled Scarlet's Walk, documenting Scarlet's (Tori's) journey across America. Each song is about a different place and part of this road trip she embarks on. She reflects specifically on New York and Sept. 11 with her song "I Can't See New York"--set with incredible lighting and a backdrop of impenetrable opaque cloud cover. She also performed "Your Cloud," my personal favorite off the new album, which features a slow traditional piano melody and Tori's breathy beautiful voice and lyrics such as, "How light can play and form a ring of rain that can change bows into arrows / I found a thrill: who we were wasn't lost / before we were us."
Touring for Scarlet's Walk, her first original work since 2000's Boys for Pele, and her first album on Epic since being dumped by Atlantic last year, Tori has broken into the mainstream for the first time in her career. She has gained respect within the industry with over a decade of experience. The new album is a most successful and embraced album, with a hot single, "A Sorta Fairytale," currently riding pop music's radio waves. This exposure has also given her an opportunity to perform and reintroduce her old favorites to the popular music community, such as "Silent All These Years" and "Crucify," which both hail from her groundbreaking debut album Little Earthquakes.
Her new music marks a mature sound and is easily distinguishable from her earlier albums, and one can assume that this newfound maturity has been gained by her recent steps on the journey of motherhood--her daughter Natashya was born in 2001 and has clearly been very influential on Tori's music. Dark, magnetic, and beautiful, Tori continues to reign over fans looking for a little understanding and a lot of quality music. Her songs convey a constant sensual disillusionment physically expressed by her stage performance and accompanied by Radio City's house band. The performance with incredible acoustics and beautiful lighting showed Tori Amos shining bright.