There is a review of Tori's August 13th Toronto, Ontario concert in the August 14, 2003 edition of the Toronto Star newspaper.
Many thanks to Jessica Felder for telling me about this press review. You can read it online at www.thestar.ca or below:
Wry and whimsical on piano bill
POP MUSIC CRITIC
On paper, the coupling of piano-playing, North Carolina-bred songwriters Tori Amos and Ben Folds makes enough sense to stick them on a bill together and come up with a cute title for the enterprise.
But the so-called Lottapianos Tour that pulled into a half empty Molson Amphitheatre last night proved more a study in contrast than a natural marriage of like-minded artistic talents.
Folds, who formerly fronted the arithmetically challenged trio Ben Folds Five, opened with an unaccompanied, hour-long set during which his propensity for wry songcraft and demonstrative showmanship was fully unleashed.
Attacking the piano from both the standing and sitting positions, his feet working the pedals furiously throughout, Folds abused the keys with a steady pounding, at one point crashing down on roughly two octaves with an entire forearm. As if that wasn't enough venting for one evening, he added an instrumental interlude that involved having a drum kit brought out, piece by piece, as he wailed away without pause.
Folds frequently introduced his observational songs with amusing anecdotes. "Eddie Walker, This Is Your Life" was inspired by a visit he paid to a college friend who had ended up in a halfway house after his girlfriend slapped him with a restraining order. "Rockin' The Suburbs" was a response to being dissed by Korn in Spin magazine.
Not that the tunes are strictly autobiographical. In detailing the background on "Army," Folds cautioned, "I should also let you know that I never had a mullet, even though it says I did in the song."
Even given that Folds' lyrics are liberally flavoured with profanity, his cover of Liz Phair's graphically uncompromising "Chopsticks" took some daring. But self-consciousness doesn't appear to figure prominently in his repertoire.
Amos, who now resides in England, also sprinkled some off-colour commentary into her set. Prior to singing "Bells For Her," she gave a detailed account of an exchange with a border guard.
For the most part, however, she presented herself as something of a New Age demi-goddess -- albeit one who didn't mind punctuating a lyrical point by flipping the bird. Decked out in a flowing shawl, Amos largely favoured an ethereal approach, singing to the heavens during a set that leaned heavily on last year's Scarlet's Walk disc.
Backed by bass and drums, the singer situated herself behind the grand for "A Sorta Fairytale" and "Little Earthquakes," before pivoting between piano and organ on "Sweet Sangria."
I'll grant that the affectations in Amos' singing are an acquired taste. But her stage voice was so heavily augmented by technological tweaking that it was hard at times to know how much of the singing she was actually doing.
It was a striking divergence from Folds' more minimal and intimate approach.