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Express & Star
January 15, 2003

Added January 16, 2003

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Thanks to Paul Fisher and Ravi Sharma for sending this review of Tori's January 14, 2003 concert in Wolverhampton, U.K. from the January 15, 2003 edition of the Express & Star newspaper in the U.K. Read it below or online at

First, a word about Civic Hall hospitality. Having spent thousands on the refit, how come customer relations are stuck in the 70s? Is it really necessary to force patrons to stand outside in the freezing cold until you decide they can come in, or to body search them at a Tori Amos gig? Hardly the likeliest setting for a rumble, is it?

Secondly, a passing note of praise for Howie Day, whose support slot made stunning use of acoustic guitar and electronics to provide some genuinely ear-catching moments, although his material might, I suspect, seem rather slight in a more conventional setting.

Finally, to the fork-bendingly talented Ms Amos herself. A songwriter with an ear for the unconventional, a singer of unexpected subtleties, and a pianist who could play most of her peers under the table - will that do for starters?

Material from her newest album, the semi-conceptual Scarlet's Walk, received a solid welcome - it is noticeably less angular than some of Amos's other more recent stuff and therefore perhaps more immediately digestible.

Nevertheless the biggest roars of the night were predictably reserved for time-served favourites such as Cloud On My Tongue, Cornflake Girl, Leather and, notably, a rip-roaring Past The Mission, while her affecting, straight-ahead sincere cover of The Eagles' classic Desperado genuinely brought something new to the song.

Song programming in the first half of the show was somewhat problematic, with too many medium-paced numbers back to back, while Amos's prodigious keyboard work was too often in competition with the bass and drums, though I couldn't be sure whether that was down to bad mixing or the Civic's always rather suspect acoustics.

In any case it didn't seem to worry the capacity audience too much. Two substantial encores and the lady still left them wanting more. Tori adored.

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