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St. Petersburg Times
November 8, 2002

Added November 22, 2002

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Read a review of Tori's November 7, 2002 concert in Tampa, FL that was printed in the November 8, 2002 edition of the St. Petersburg Times. Thanks to Woj for making me aware of it.

Whispers to wails, Amos dazzles By GINA VIVINETTO, Times Pop Music Critic
(c) St. Petersburg Times

TAMPA -- Watching Tori Amos perform Thursday, it wasn't difficult imagining her as the prodigy piano player she was growing up in Maryland. The 39-year-old walked onstage at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center in a light blue chiffon kimono over jeans and black boots, looking like a child playing dress-up. A matching bow barrette held back one side of her hair.

It was the first stop of Amos' North American tour, and the house, which holds almost 2,500, was nearly sold out. Amos's fans are die-hards, applauding her before she sat at her grand piano. Amos began with an a capella Wampum Prayer from Scarlet's Walk, her remarkable new concept album. The disc is the narrative of the fictitious Scarlet trekking like a modern day Jack Kerouac across America. Along the way, Scarlet re-examines her faith -- in her country, herself and those around her.

The singer deals with the events of Sept. 11 on I Can't See New York, narrated by a passenger on one of the fated planes that crashed into the twin towers. Other tunes such as A Sorta Fairytale, which Amos performed near her set's beginning, are less grim, though the song's needling, loopy piano hints of Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells -- better known as The Exorcist theme.

Amos was accompanied by her long time bandmates -- "my brothers" -- bassist Jon Evans and drummer Matt Chamberlain. The three play precisely together, the men following Amos' leads and forays into dynamic vocal shenanigans, not singing so much as simply making her voice heard. Amos is gifted with the ability to convey candid emotions, through whispers, nuanced ahems and cooing. Likely, Amos will follow those with gigantic vocal sweeps, gusts of grandiose, sometimes guttural wails.

Amos' gyrations and hip swivels on the piano bench accompanied In the Springtime of His Voodoo, which found the singer turning back and forth between her grand piano and an electronic keyboard behind her. Evans' pummeling bass line beefed up that number, which ended in Amos' crescendo of bluesy growls.

Bliss began woozily enough, with programmed trip hop beats and gurgly electronica noise. That song's bright chorus makes it a seesaw of emotion. Amos finished the number with her eyes closed, fidgeting and shaking her head, nearly barking the lyrics.

Hard core fans relished the obscure Take to the Sky on which Amos slapped her piano for percussion and a deconstructed trip-hoppy version of Amos' early hit Crucify. The vaudevillian sass of new tune Wednesday, with Chamberlain rat-tat-tatting a two-step beat with brushes on his snare, showed Amos' playful side.

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