Live Review: Tori Amos – 4th October 2017 – Royal Albert Hall, London, UK
The Royal Albert Hall is no stranger to iconic singer-songwriter Tori Amos. Having performed in the opulent venue in the heart of London several times over the course of her career, it has acted as an applaudable stomping ground for the classically trained songstress as she has delivered her sets to adoring fans who often travel the world to see the musician perform. Last night was no exception as Amos once again returned to the venue to offer her fans something truly unique.
Having recently released her latest studio album, Native Invaders, to both critical and fan acclaim, Amos is now in the middle of a tour that sees the musician taking to some of the most prestigious stages around the world with the UK now being treated to her latest live spectacle. It was the capital’s turn last night and as the venue filled with happy faces, anticipation was thick in the air during support band Bell X1’s humble and folk rich support set; closing their time on stage by telling the crowd, “we’re gonna play two more songs and then the boss lady will be on”.
As the lights dimmed and everyone had taken their seats, Amos emerged from the right of the stage in back leggings, a flowing red dress/shirt number and some black heels that could put some serious damage on. Giving an applause to her beaming crowd, a flame-haired Amos took position between her two pianos, including he signature Bosendorfer grand piano which acts almost as a part of the musicians body as she often moves between both instruments with fluidity and grace and which she later gave a motherly pat to as she exited the stage ahead of her encore.
Utilizing a rarely used rhythm sample, Amos opened her 17 song set with From The Choirgirl Hotel’s i.i.e.e.e; a large image of a forest in flames creating the shows chilling backdrop. Turning to her Bosendorfer, fans were then treated to a pitch-perfect and passionate early number in the form of Little Earthquakes. An early injection of nostalgia taking us back to the musician’s iconic debut album for those in the audience who have followed the musician from the beginning.
As Amos’ breathy tones let out the lyrics, “Someone’s knockin’ on my front door”, fans erupted with approval for the arrival of the Under The Pink’s gorgeous Cloud on my Tongue while some of the musicians most mainstream hits such as the ethereal Silent All These Years and Bliss handed the evening over to the singers commercial and more mainstream success; the latter adding a storming hit amongst the predominantly eerie set list with its soaring and emotionally charged vocal delivery.
The Royal Albert Hall provided Amos with an exquisite setting for her to showcase her phenomenal new studio album which was on full display during the almost two hour show. New songs came in the form of album highlights Reindeer King and Breakaway which found their place in the later half of the set and were performed in front of a large image of snowy mountains. The politically charged and aptly titled Russia also gave us a glimpse into Amos’ view on the current state of affairs in her home country as she asks within the track, “Is Stalin on your shoulder”.
Like every previous Tori Amos tour, the set list for last nights performance was different for each night during this latest global trek. A constant changer from night to night, the song list provided fans both new and long time a unique concert experience. There were also treats in the form of covers from the musician and last nights performances was flavoured with a beautiful mash up of Fleetwood Mac’s Silver Springs and the late and legendary Tom Petty’s Free Fallin’ followed by Joni Mitchell’s River; both ode to’s performed in cheeky style beneath a large poster displaying the words ‘Fake Muse Network’; another humourous dig at 45.
Closing the set with a flawless performance of Precious Things and an extended version of pop-dressed hit A Sorta Fairytale, complete with rhythm samples and the occasional pre-recorded backing vocal to add an additional layer to one of the musicians most mainstream drenched classics, the superstar waved to her fans and made her way from the stage to a standing ovation – one of several during the night.
Amos has for many years been described as an act to see before one dies. Having seen her now at least a dozen times over the last 15 years, and after last nights sublime performance, this statement could not ring more true. The sheer talent Tori Amos brings to the international stage is second to none; her songwriting, her vocal ability, her musicianship – individually, Amos conquers all with style, grace and precision. A unique performer in every sense of the term.
i i e e e
Pancake (with “Ohio” bridge and lyrics from “Mary’s Eyes”)
Cloud on My Tongue
Fake Muse Network:
Silver Springs (Fleetwood Mac cover) (with elements of Tom Petty’s “Free Fallin'”)
River (Joni Mitchell cover)
Ruby Through the Looking-Glass
Silent All These Years
A Sorta Fairytale