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Cleveland Plain Dealer
November 27, 2002

Added January 4, 2003

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Lucy sent me a review of Tori's November 26, 2002 concert in Cleveland, OH from the November 27, 2002 edition of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Songstress delights fans with selections spanning her career

Anastasia Pantsios, Special to The Plain Dealer

Tori Amos

An incense-scented love fest took place last night at Playhouse Square's State Theater. Its priestess was a woman in a long, fringed robe who whipped her tawny hair as she coaxed emotion from her pianos and her supple voice. Tori Amos was back in town. Over the past decade, Amos has built a following that hangs on her every gesture, her every utterance. Their adoration was clear last night. Amos calls her songs her "children." Every song in her more than 21/2-hour show was greeted with shrieks of joy, making it clear that each was someone's favorite kid. Those tunes ran the gamut of her career, reaching as far back as 1992's Little Earthquakes for "Leather" and "Crucify" and dipping into her recent Scarlet's Walk CD for songs like show-opener "Wampum Prayer/A Sorta Fairytale" and "Strange."

Amos, with her free-ranging, theatrical voice and ornate, virtuostic keyboard playing, has never been one to just play a song straight. She explored every nook and cranny of "Crucify," caressing syllables lovingly. In sections, she sang over only the soft accompaniment of bassist Jon Evans and drummer Matt Chamberlain; in other parts her keyboards tumbled in thunderous cascades. She even changed a line to sing "I'm never gonna crucify myself again." Her vocals slid and slithered over shimmering keyboards - electric and acoustic grand piano - on tunes like "Caught a Lite Sneeze" and "Little Amsterdam."

In midshow, Amos got intimate with her fans. A sign saying "Roadside Cafe" dropped down and the band left the stage for three songs, including the achingly wistful "Winter" and the sensous "Leather" which opens with the line "Look I'm standing naked before you," a Tori Amos manifesto if there ever was one. But first she kicked off the solo segment by singing about her flowing dress. She delighted the crowd by singing "I'm a slave to my clothes/I trip over them these days" and "they hang over my keys but my husband likes to take them off." She improvised that she was "in a town where I could leave my dress in a glass case."

Although Tori fans sometimes get teased for their passionate responses to her every move and ad libbed line, in fact, her very presence and her movements are almost harmony to the music. She bends, sways, leans over, flips dramatically between different keyboards and whips her hair around, punctuating the emotions in her songs with body language. A little growl in the middle of "Cornflake Girl" earned as ecstatic a cheer as any song. But it's the little things like that that add dimension to Amos's concerts and make her a must-see.

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