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The Daily Telegraph (London U.K.)
January 18, 2003

Added January 20, 2003

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Lucy sent me this review of Tori's January 16, 2003 concert in London, U.K. from the January 18, 2003 edition of The Daily Telegraph in London, U.K.

The taming of Tori



AFTER years of turmoil in her personal life, Tori Amos is now happily married to her sound engineer husband; they live in a big house in Cornwall with their small daughter and are, by all accounts, very happy. This is good news for Amos, but less so for her fans, since her new contented condition seems to have affected her music. Her recent album, Scarlet's Walk, is eventful and absorbing but lacks the peaks of ecstasy and troughs of despair that characterised earlier works such as From the Choirgirl Hotel. And this, the penultimate show in her short UK tour, was similarly afflicted: though it was packed with great music, I found myself yearning for Amos and her two fellow musicians to let rip, for Amos to do what she did last time I saw her performing with a band and squirm and wail like a mad woman, for the bass player to explore the stage beyond the confines of his little platform, for drummer Matt Chamberlain to take off his jacket, splash out a bit, and strike up some kind of musical relationship with Amos. Instead, what we got was a show that was reserved, controlled and contained; rather than ebbing and flowing, the music pulsed steadily in a series of metronomic grooves. Which is not to say that this was a bad night. For the entirety of its two-hour duration my attention never wandered as Amos, in a flouncy blue gown worn over jeans and stilettoes, crooned and purred and simmered. And her command of her array of keyboards was astonishing: at one point she was able to keep one hand on her beloved Bosendorfer piano and reach behind her with the other hand without even looking and pick out a perfect phrase on an electronic keyboard. As the show progressed, she did begin to loosen up somewhat, especially during Take to the Sky and the mesmerising epic Crucify.

But for me, the most affecting part of the show was the bit where she dispensed with the band and just sat alone at the piano; for this brief interlude, she performed with the kind of emotional honesty for which she is renowned. Jackie's Strength in particular was exquisite. Sad, lilting, warm, uplifting, bleak: in the course of one song, she took us on an emotional roller-coaster journey with more peaks and plummets than in the whole of the rest of the show.

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