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Live Review: Tori Amos – 11th March 2022 – Palladium, London, UK

4 min read
"If there were a seven wonders of the live music world – Tori Amos would be right up there, glowing as the number 1 act to see in ones lifetime." Our Review of @toriAmos at the London Palladium 5 stars!

I’ve seen Amos perform around 15 or 16 times in my life. I wasn’t able to see the star prior to arriving to London in the early noughties but I’ve always been a huge fan of the American piano icon, so seeing her for the first time on the Original Sinsuality tour of 2005 was a truly heavenly experience. And that’s saying something for someone that doesn’t have a religious bone in their body. There was something so otherworldly about a musician with the grace and skill of Amos up on that Hammersmith stage performing in that flowing green dress; both hands tinkering away effortlessly to her musically and lyrically intricate masterpieces while delivering pitch perfect vocals and tapping her stiletto wearing right foot on a tambourine while the other controlled her instruments pedal. I had never seen music performed with such precision and expertise in my life. From that tour I have followed the stars live performances through each of her records and within some of the world’s most prestigious venues; from London’s Royal Albert Hall to Sydney’s iconic Opera House and this weekend I was lucky enough to spend my birthday evening with Amos at the very first show of her Ocean to Ocean world tour within the regal surroundings of the London Palladium.

Debuting songs from her latest record, fans were delighted to the likes of the dreamy Addition of Light Divided with its haunting pre-recorded backing vocals that soared through the Palladium, while Devil’s Bane provided the set with a semi-gospel-esque number with its “shame, shame” chorus and flowing verses. The album’s title track found a place at the start of the set and Spies, the latest track to be lifted from the album as a single, was thrown into the evenings two track encore and garnished Amos with one of several standing ovations and a rapturous applause from the sold out London crowd.

No Tori Amos show is the same as we have learned over the years; the musician always changing up her set for every night’s performance, so attending a Tori Amos concert always feels like a very unique experience. Within with singers first show of 2 years, thanks to Covid, we were treated to reinventions of some of our very favourite catalogue hits.

A stellar rendition of Bouncing Off Clouds from 2007’s American Doll Posse was a clear favourite in the set as she danced through the track in her flowing blue satin outfit with its eye-catching splashes of colour and sharpened heels that would flick back the material from her piano pedals with quick execution; the singer masterfully positioning herself between her 3 keyboards and Bösendorfer grand piano which demanded the space of at least a third of the stages length. Give, the opener of 2009’s Abnormally Attracted To Sin was another standout in the set and fitting to the shows overall ethereal ambiance. And of course, no Tori Amos show would feel quite complete without Cornflake Girl, which closed the main segment of the evenings set.

Her whispery vocals wrapped themselves around some of her more obscure numbers to please the die-hard fans in the audience who would periodically roar in approval to even the most subtle of repertoire interjections (a dozen or so punters standing to clap along to a brief interlude of Reindeer King within the singers performance of Bouncing Off Clouds). Boys For Pele album track Little Amsterdam slipped into the set effortlessly and provided nostalgia around the new album numbers while early Boys For Pele single, Caught A Light Sneeze was instantly recognizable with its industrial sounding instrumentation and gifted the sold out venue with its first slice of 90’s era Amos. Tribute to the singers ground-breaking debut, Little Earthquakes, which soon celebrates its 30th anniversary, was heard through a spectacular version of one of her most famous hits, Crucify.

With her songs often dabbling in controversial topics, Amos didn’t hold back from declaring her solidarity to the Ukraine during the show with a gorgeous “prayer”, as the singer told us, in the form of a Tom Waits cover of Time, to go to those facing the current Russian invasion of the Ukraine before delivering the aptly titled, Russia from her previous record, Native Invaders.

There really is no performer quite like Tori Amos. I’ve seen hundreds of concerts in my time – from dizzying stadium spectacles and arena shows down to theatre performances and church showcases – and nothing comes close to seeing the genius that is Tori Amos as she whips her head toward the crowd; her famous red locks draping a face that is lit up with a beaming smile for her fans as she manoeuvres around the keys of multiple pianos while delivering some of the most passionate, heart-wrenching and eloquent vocals that I have ever heard in a live setting. If there were a seven wonders of the live music world – Tori Amos would be right up there, glowing as the number 1 act to see in ones lifetime.

Setlist:
Juárez
Bouncing Off Clouds (with “Reindeer King” interlude)
Caught a Lite Sneeze
Ocean to Ocean
Horses
Josephine
Time (Tom Waits cover)
Russia
Little Amsterdam
Crucify
Addition of Light Divided
Give
Devil’s Bane
Cornflake Girl

Encore:
Spies
Take to the Sky