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Lowell Sun
November 20, 2002

Added November 23, 2002

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A review of Tori's November 19th show in Lowell, MA appeared in the November 20, 2002 edition of the Lowell Sun. Thanks to Neil for sending it to me.


Wednesday, November 20, 2002 - LOWELL Since coming onto the music scene 14 years ago, Tori Amos has created a devout following. With seven catalogs of powerful confessions under her belt, she is more than a cult, more than an icon for the disenfranchised.

Many of her cathartic songs are complicated capsules that need decoding. But no matter what's said of Amos' repertoire, she is a talented piano player and singer.

Commanding a black grand piano throughout the two hour plus show at the Tsongas Arena last night, Amos was by turns majestic, gloomy and hopeful. But her material is that way. The former choir girl's songs touch on delicate subjects like rape and abuse and are not meant for mass consumption.

Her latest album Scarlet's Walk is in a class by itself. It's an 18-song tribute to a fictitious woman who embarks on a cross-country journey in post 9/11 America. Each song is about a different leg of Scarlet's trip to find her friend Amber Waves. But this travelogue is not a catchy road trip CD that will help the miles roll by. It is conceptual and reflective.

Although the disk is a few weeks old, many fans knew the words by heart and sang along from the start to "A Sorta Fairytale."

Dressed in a powder blue kimono draped over jeans, Amos looked like a character from a fairy tale tickling the ivories all night. Drummer Matt Chamberlain and bassist John Evans provided a strong tribal beat on several songs such as the hymn-like "Sugar." To her credit, Amos did not tailor the show to sell her new CD, she filled the night with some older gems like the 1992 song "Crucify," from Little Earthquakes, which was delivered in a passionate burst.

Bathed in blue light, Amos sang the ode to victimhood with the yearning it demands: "I got a bowling ball in my stomach, I got a desert in my mouth, figures that my courage would choose to sell out now."

After an upbeat version of "Bliss," she shifted into a solo segment with the melancholy "Crazy," banging her right hand against the piano during the chorus. Amos jammed on "Take to the Sky," whipping her fiery mane back and forth like a woman possessed.

Straddling the piano bench while alternating between two keyboards, the petite singer barely addressed the crowd all night she was emerged in her craft.

After tossing out the short bluegrass number "Wednesday," Amos delivered an impromptu song about a cozy living room. The short ditty seemed disjoined, but did not slow things down, because right after she plowed into the night's show stopper; "Silent All These Years." The 1992 hit was delivered with personal flair that's hard to duplicate on a recording.

Die hard fans were pleased to hear the B-side: "Famous Blue Raincoat," delivered in a whisper and the enthusiasm continued on "Taxi Ride," on which Amos rose from her bench for the first time all night clearly energized by the new material.

An intricate light show added another dimension to her songs. Between images of a forest, clouds and a childish sketch of an earth mother, 15 or so rotating spotlights filled the arena with a kaleidoscope of hues.

Whether it was the lighting or her voice, the crowd was under Amos' spell, especially during "Little Earthquakes," the intoxicating "Pancake" and "Spring Haze," which had a doomsday feel to it.

Not one to leave them wanting for more, Amos came back for two encores, the highlights of which were "Cornflake Girl and "Tear in Your Hand."

The talented, young Howie Day kicked the show off in fine fashion. Except for a sound snafu that cut his breakout song "Ghost" short, the 21-year-old delivered a 40 minute set that did not disappoint.

Day may be a solo artist, but he is also a one man sound machine. Between strumming guitar and singing, the Bangor, Maine, native records himself with audio pedals, playing back trippy loop samples of his voice. The result was a futuristic techno stew.

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