Rockford Register Star
September 21, 1996

Added March 2, 2001

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A review of Tori's September 20, 1996 concert in Rockford, IL appeared in the September 21, 1996 edition of the Rockford Register Star. Thanks to Sarah Johnson (Garden Muse) for telling me about it.

by Edith C. Lee

Describing Tori Amos' performance might have been difficult if it weren't for one of the images projected on the white curtain behind her. Thanks to the magic of video, concertgoers had the front seat on a roller-coaster ride.

And so it was Friday night for 1,400 people at the Coronado Theatre.

Amos would slowly, quietly start off a song. Then she was building the intensity, scaling octaves and raising the volume. She would sing her way to the top of a dramatic chorus then suddenly drop back down to a whisper, just like going over that first hill.

She sped from startingly strong to incredibly strong. She would screech to the end, letting us off the ride before we had time to recover from all of the twists and turns.

Whether you enjoyed it probably depends on whether or not you knew what you were getting into. Just like you're not likely to have fun on a coaster when you're expecting a Carousel, who could appreciate Amos if they thought they were getting a female singer doing love songs?

The alternative rocker likes her songwriting and performances to challenge people, make them feel uncomfortable.

She opened as her 1996 release "Boys For Pele" does, with "Beauty Queen/Horses." She also performed "Hey Jupiter," "Marianne" and "Caught a Lite Sneeze."

At times Amos was her own biggest distraction, even in the way she sits at her piano. Maybe "sit" isn't the right word since she dances, swivels and--well, let's just stay it's a good thing she was wearing leggings rather than a dress.

She stopped playing during a song and tapped out a rhythm on her piano, then on her thighs and chest. She ended the interlude with a tug upward on her shirt.

Amos has been playing piano since she was 2, and it shows in her mastery of the instrument. Whether she was barely tinkling background or pounding out melodies, she clearly showed her talent on the keys.

The same goes for her singing. She might make you jump by a sudden bellow, but she also could have you leaning forward for the softest sounds. No matter how she hit you with it, it always felt like that's exactly where she wanted it.

Opening act Josh Clayton-Felt was so entertaining that his 40-minute set flew by. Performing solo with his guitars, the former lead singer/songwriter of School of Fish was impressive not only for his musicianship by for his perspective. The concept of an acoustic guitar version of the Commodores' funky dance hit, "Brick House" sounds ridiculous, but when Clayton-Felt did it, it made sense. He rocked it and showed a connection between 1970s funk and his own rhythmic music, including "Paint the Tree Green" and "Soon Enough."

Plus, Clayton-Felt showed a sense of a humor when he introduced his own guitar break, saying "Take It, Josh."

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