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Live Review: Tori Amos – 3rd April 2023 – Royal Albert Hall, London, UK

5 min read
This weeks @toriamos show at the @RoyalAlbertHall has left us stunned! Pure talent-soaked perfection! @Undented #toriamos

As I made my way to South Kensington station, I found myself counting through the last 20 years of seeing one of the most enigmatic, skilled and graceful artists in music. Eighteen times I’ve been lucky enough to see the musical genius that is Tori Amos. And I don’t use the term ‘genius’ lightly. From my first time seeing her at the Hammersmith (now Eventim) Apollo as part of her Original Sinsuality Tour, through to a super intimate wristband-only event at Camden’s Jazz Cafe, where a friend and I camped out in a urine soaked alley in freezing temperatures off London’s Oxford Street in 2009 and in later years, within the gorgeous and world famous confines of the Sydney Opera House as part of her Unrepentant Geraldine’s, there have been so many memorable experiences within some of the worlds finest performance spaces with the icon.

Last year’s performance and opening night of her current Ocean to Ocean tour at the London Palladium was particularly special for me. Not only was it the Ocean to Ocean tour debut, but it was also my birthday and thanks to Sacha – one of the loveliest of PR’s – I was given the opportunity of meeting Tori backstage where I got to chat a bit before having her sign one of my arms (which I had tattooed the following morning).

Fast forward one year later and Tori is back in the capital as part of the very same tour, this time playing more recently added dates to the Ocean to Ocean trek around the globe due such a huge demand to see the Little Earthquakes hitmaker live.

Taking to the stage at 9pm and draped beautifully in an ensemble of flowing black and gold, Tori took her position at her grand Bösendorfer and 3 other pianos which sat centre stage and ready for the musician to work her classically trained magic; often playing a combination of any two at one time.

The set was a carefully selected array of catalogue gems and, like most shows, unreflective of previous performances; one of the many ways of Amos delivering something special and unique to her fans and a reason for us die-hard Amos fans to dish out our hard earned money on more than one show within any given tour and justify this to our other halves.

The singers most recent and sixteenth studio album brought out numbers like the soothing title track early on in the set and one of the highlights of the record, Addition of Light Divided as she was given one of the warmest of welcomes from her devoted fans who clung on to every vocal nuance and lyric that came from the fiery haired superstar.

During a solo moment within the centre of the set we were presented with a stunning cover of R.E.M’s Losing My Religion, but it was with 90’s hit Silent All These Years that the sold out venue of fans – some of who had seen he singer perform up to 50 times as Amos would point out from a letter received by a fan in the crowd before the show – that had the audience hypnotized as the musician delivered one of the most incredible performances that I have personally been witness to; each tinkering of the piano played with care and every word delivered with both heart and soul exposed. Staff within the venue even took position on the sides of the stage to take in what was happening in the venue and the crowd offered one of may standing ovations during the night.

While the new album was the promotional focus for this tour, it was a mix of catalogue Tori album cuts and career single goliaths that had the crowd worked into a frenzy. God opened the show this time around while other repertoire mammoths including Crucify and encore number, Precious Things found their rightful place within the set as she often looked back with a smile to her bassist Jon Evans, who she has been playing with for over 25 years, and Ash Soan who delivered masterful duties on drums and percussion.

Anecdotes garnished several moments during the near-two hour performance. Amos told of her journey from America to being welcomed in the UK for her ‘weirdness’ and playing the iconic and regal stage of the Royal Albert Hall so many times over the years and the welcoming she was given my staff within the venue as they told her “Welcome home” as she arrived to play. She also told us of her early days playing some odd shows including a birthday party where she confessed that songs like Crucify and Me and a Gun weren’t exactly fitting for such an event which had the crowd laughing.

As the opening keys started playing to Cornflake Girl, as if like it was orchestrated long before the show (and it probably was), the entire of the front row of seated fans, along with 50 or so others from the floor section of the venue, moved to the stage in absolute sync of each other to start filming the performance of one of the singers most successful and recognisable hits; the challenge for the venue staff to get people back to their seats being fairly unsuccessful.

Leaving the stage following a playful and charismatic performance of Take to the Sky, Amos waved to her fans, embraced her backing band and departed, leaving us feeling somewhat shell shocked from the performance we had just witnessed.

I’ve been hundreds of shows over the years. I’ve seen most of my idols and some of them I have seen so many times I’ve lost count. But I can say with absolute certainty that Tori Amos is the best live performer in music today, and has been for many years, and Monday’s show at the Royal Albert Hall was without doubt one of the single greatest performances I have been lucky enough to attend. Period!

Set list:
God
Ocean to Ocean
Crucify
Bells for Her
Give
Pandora’s Aquarium
Losing My Religion (R.E.M. cover)
Silent All These Years
Climb
Little Amsterdam
Addition of Light Divided
Daisy Dead Petals
Cornflake Girl 

Encore:
Precious Things
Take to the Sky

1 thought on “Live Review: Tori Amos – 3rd April 2023 – Royal Albert Hall, London, UK

  1. Hi Brendan,

    Thank you for your review of the Tori concert at the Royal Albert Hall. I was lucky enough to go to the Liverpool Philharmonic concert on the Friday and then the Royal Albert Hall on the Monday. I had up close seats at both concerts and both were magnificent. The drum, bass and piano trio format makes the concert a better spectacle than the Tori solo concerts; not that they aren’t a privilege to see as well. I was also at the London Palladium show last year, but had an ‘annoying’ person behind, who half ruined the experience.

    It may be because of the order I saw the concerts in, so the impact was greater first time around, but the Liverpool concert was the slightly more impressive of the two concerts, as well as fifteen minutes longer; in other words it was uber stunning! The atmosphere was great in Liverpool and London, and the set lists were significantly different to be a delight to see both concerts. London had the amazing performance of Silent All These Years, which was as breath-taking as you describe it. Tori played a masterstroke at Liverpool by performing You’ll Never Walk Alone solo.

    It’s a joy that Tori Amos still tours on a regular basis, something that was missing with Kate Bush.

    Regards,

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