A review of Tori's November 19th concert in Lowell, MA appeared in the November 21, 2002 edition of the Boston Globe. Thanks to Leanne Meschwitz, Woj, Meredith Tarr, Heather Peck and Gary for telling The Dent about this.
Tori Amos connects with spell-binding set
By Joan Anderman, Globe Staff, 11/21/2002
LOWELL - Try to recall the last time you attended a pop concert at a sports arena where posted signs instructed in no uncertain terms that there was to be "No Standing." How about a sold-out rock show where you weren't allowed to take your seat during a song?
When's the last time you saw Tori Amos?
For the uninitiated, an Amos performance isn't about two hours of music. It's about creating conditions that are ripe for transmission. Fifteen years and seven albums into her career, Amos is still enchanted oracle to an estrogen-heavy fan base hungry for magical moods, meaningful silences, and cosmic-grade revelations.
Some would say it's a fine line between visionary faerie queen and fantastical flake, but Amos makes the distinction with clear-eyed focus. Her spells are hard-won and undreamy, crafted of stark, careful poetry and finely wrought melodies. That she managed to cast them to the rafters at the Tsongas Arena - hardly an intimate venue - is testimony to Amos's musical command as much as the legendary connection between the artist and her ready devotees.
Amos, dressed in flowing layers of powder blue, set up shop on a bench center stage, her familiar Bosendorfer grand piano on one side and electric keyboards on the other. Backed by the endlessly bending notes of the jazz-inspired bassist Jon Evans and drummer Matt Chamberlain's warm, wending beats, she created cloudbursts of emotion out of clusters of notes - an apt setting for words that read like pages from a journal.
About half the set was devoted to music from the new "Scarlet's Walk," a concept album that chronicles a fictional woman's journey through post-9/11 America. The songs - including the first single " a sorta fairytale " - were absent of some of the album's lush, quirky arrangements but glowed nonetheless. So too did the handful of earlier gems Amos performed. Her stuttering reworking of "Silent All These Years," gave that song's frail beauty yet another layer of potency, and "Cornflake Girl " went from sultry to scalding by the sheer density of Amos's piano chords.
A cover of Leonard Cohen's "Famous Blue Raincoat " was a perfect fit in and among the complicated terrain of Amos's set list - which spanned the vaudevillian snap of the new tune "Wednesday," obscure "Take to the Sky " (on which she slapped the piano for percussion), and the a cappella " wampum prayer."
Maine native and rising singer-songwriter Howie Day - a veritable one-man symphony thanks to his mastery of on-the-spot tape loops - opened the show with thoughtful folk-pop from his debut album "Australia."
Joan Anderman can be reached at email@example.com
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