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The Evening Standard (London U.K.)
January 17, 2003

Updated January 29, 2003

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A review of Tori's January 16, 2003 concert in London, U.K. appeared in the January 17, 2003 edition of The Evening Standard in London, U.K. Thanks to Lucy, Kizzy and Mike Snowden for telling me about this review. The review included a really nice photo of Tori, which Emma scanned and sent to me. You can see the photo below.

Brief encounter of the Tori kind
By John Aizlewood

Tori Amos
Apollo, W6

THAT her current CD is a concept album and its predecessor a collection of cover versions suggests that domestic bliss in her Cornish idyll with her English husband and baby may have blunted North Carolina's Tori Amos's once lambent muse. Last night's first of her two Apollo shows failed to dispel entirely that notion, but it did raise more questions than answers.

On record, Amos is the most intimate, confessional and giving of songwriters. A line such as "I've been searching for a saviour beneath these dirty sheets" on Crucify, the evening's highlight, epitomised Amos's entwining of the sacredness of yearning for a soul mate and the profanity of desperate promiscuity. Yet live, bestriding her beloved Basendorfer piano and standard keyboards, she gives very little of herself. She positioned herself towards the back of the stage and sang her songs. That, essentially, was that. Once an engaging raconteur, she chose not to banter, save one grim anecdote which served to note that there is little so dull as those who discuss their own infants ad nauseam and another to reinforce her own rather selfconscious kookiness: "I did meet some weird people - and that's coming from me!" Quite. Oh, and she did relate her need to moisten her mouth to her vagina.

For the most part, as if the Apollo were a prison, the lighting was merely searchlights shone at the audience rather than on the artist. And her band - just drums and bass - were simply unsuitable, as her all-too-brief solo slot confirmed.

Yet, as another year dawns with no Kate Bush album in sight, there is still something special about Tori Amos: if

Germaine Greer had embarked upon a career in music, this is how she would sound.

Amos's better material brims with intelligence and insight. Jackie's Strength and Sugar were surprising reminders that consistency has always been a strength, but some of the new material triumphed amid the gloop. Current album, Scarlet's Walk, is far from conclusive evidence that she has run out of steam. Carbon and I Can't See New York, her harrowing, skewwhiff take on 11 September, assumed new resonance live, although the briefest of explanations as to their provenance would have been a most welcome benison.

At the end, she rattled out a couple of encores, made some sort of vague peace sign and was gone with nary a word. The audience, still enthusiastic after two confusing hours, deserved slightly better. So too, did Amos's songs.

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