¡Tori Amos euforia!
Tori Amos' latest album, Ocean to Ocean, was released in October 2021, vinyl in January 2022, and the UK, Ireland and US tour started in March. After a long time away from the stage, Tori Amos kicked off in London, just two days, at one of the West End's biggest theatres, The London Palladium.
Tori reached the Top 10 in the US and UK in the 90s. I was very interested to see if her latest album would have traction despite the changing musical scenario over the last 20 years.
Tori Amos is a female prodigy who stood out for her technical and academic abilities from a very young age. By the age of three she was composing her own music and by the age of five she was the youngest student at the Johns Hopkins University Conservatory in Baltimore. As a soloist and pianist, her style was always original, different, unconventional, sometimes baroque, making her relationship with record companies difficult until she became completely independent. Tori matured as an active feminist, most of her songs revolve around sexuality, its taboos and women's empowerment. So, as a woman, my motivation to get to know her better and go to the concert grew exponentially.
I arrived early to catch the atmosphere. Unbelievably, Tori wasn't expected to be on stage until 9pm, but by 7pm there were already a lot of people warming the place up. Lesbians, Trans, Drags, couples, groups, singles like me, classics, modern, young and old; an impressive variety where the only thing in common was Tori.
The theatre was half full. The Saint Sisters, soloists with a harp as their only travelling companion, began to play. Their melodic voice and the strings of the harp managed to calm the excitement of the audience, transporting everyone to another dimension. The audience rewarded them with great and well-deserved applause. Before I knew it, the theatre was full, but everyone was seated and very patient.
The lights went out and people stopped breathing! The musicians came out - a bass player and a drummer - and began to play. A few seconds later Tori came out: the whole theatre was on its feet, jumping and clapping, their idol was back!
Without a word, everyone sat down and Tori went straight to the keyboards. The trio coordinated with a glance and Tori started playing Juarez, of course, a song about the death of hundreds of women. Piano, organ, organ, organ, piano, all at once. Then came Bouncing Off Clouds - but when she finished Caught a Lite Sneeeze she paused to say ‘hello’ and gave the audience time to digest the magic of the first few songs. Nerves were on edge. The British audience is sensitive and very appreciative but restrained, everyone was still firmly seated but the faces and head movements said it all. The connection that was created between Tori and her most fervent fans was great.
Jon Evans, the bass player, has accompanied Tori intermittently since her beginnings, but he is the only one who plays with her at concerts. He is just as mysterious as she is, with no known other significant collaborations.
The drummer was new to Tori, Ash Soan (#1 UK top studio drummer). Ash has recorded on 60 top 10 albums by Billy Idol, Robin Williams, Cher, James Morrison, among others.
The trio continued to pay tribute to their latest album, singing Ocean to Ocean, Spies, Addition of Light Dividends, among others, and almost without pause. She looked at the audience from time to time, as if to make sure it wasn't a dream. She played with impossible postures, as when she started, true to her style, which is still original. She had four different keyboards, but the giant Bösendorfer grand piano was her favourite.
A reference to the war could not be missing: her song Russia, created a special atmosphere, got us all out of our seats and her audience even managed to stop the concert for a short while, when applauding the singer.
In total she played 16 songs during a two-hour concert, including historical songs from her beginnings such as Cornflake Girl, Honey, Baker Baker and Take to the Sky. Tori closed the evening with Precious Things, a poem about a young girl's violent discovery of her sexuality. It had been a long time since I had heard songs with such a hidden message.
The confinements due to the Covid pandemic have been a very hard experience for everyone, but have led to a flood of new albums from renewed artists after many months of continuous introspective analysis.
Tori's eccentricity keeps her intact and we wish her many more years of creativity and renewed success! Have a good tour, Tori!