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Live Review: Tori Amos – Thursday 3rd November 2011 – Hammersmith Apollo, UK

5 min read

One of music’s most eloquent and exquisite stars took to the London roads this week following the release of her latest classically tinged record, Night of Hunters. Tori Amos, the song writing queen who has melted our hearts with whispery nuggets of musical gold like Winter, Hey Jupiter, A Sorta Fairytale and Spark as well as some of the most eccentrically composed up tempo tracks including Big Wheel and the iconic dance floor hit Professional Widow, took to the Royal Albert Hall on Wednesday followed by a superb and versatile performance at her staple West London venue, the HMV Hammersmith Apollo, the following evening. She did so to deliver yet another masterful performance of what is so appropriately described as some of music’s most enchanting pieces of song writing genius.

Tori’s latest outing, her twelfth studio record Night of Hunters, is the musicians first offering under German classical label Deutsche Grammophon Records and sees the singer take her classically trained roots and musical gifts one step further with 14 new tracks all laced with the same effortless Tori Amos approach.

Tonight’s performance at the Hammersmith Apollo was witness to a sold out crowd of 5000, all dedicated Amos followers, most of who have followed Amos through her career from the early recordings of her phenomenal breakthrough Little Earthquakes right through to her latest studio offering and who can’t get enough of seeing her deliver what will and has always been a night to remember. Any Tori Amos concert promises to be an evening of enchantment and a new experience as the singers set changes throughout every tour allowing her fans to be involved in something different each time they see her.

With an all male string quartet donning violins and a cello the stage was perfectly set with her trademark grand piano and an overhanging chandelier as Tori took to the stage at 9pm dressed in a long flowing black dress, a sparkly black top and a set of killer heels that complimented the singers famous fiery red locks. As soon as she stepped out from the right of the stage she was greeted by a thunderous reception. As she made herself comfortable at her signature instrument the Night Of Hunters opening track Shattering Sea took the opening honours for the nights set before Tori offered us a superb cover of the 1975 Fleetwood Mac classic Landslide. As the dozens of bootleg Tori Amos collections will show, Tori’s covers have become almost a constant inclusion in any Tori performance, often changing per performance. Fans have almost come to expect this from the musician as she makes each cover her own in true Tori Amos style.

After a beautifully haunting performance of Suede and a short a capella improvised sing along the host of the evening introduced her backing quartet whose presence in the nights performance offered a musical glow and gave each of the songs a new angle.

Further down the set Maybe California, one of the key tracks from her 2009 record Abnormally Attracted To Sin, was offered and proved to be one of the highlights of the night. With its melancholic lyrics Tori cast her beautiful classically trained vocals around the number as her band provided a fantastic string arrangement as the light dotted backdrop and overhead chandelier shone.

As a popular fan request the obvious stand out in the set came in the form of the incredible A Sorta Fairytale. One of Tori’s more commercially successful and mainstream radio friendly tracks the song was followed by a stunning solo performance of Ruby Through The Looking Glass.

Throughout both tracks Tori’s whispery spoken word and emotive piano tickering filled every corner of the venue as she looked out to the adoring crowd that were lapping each of her gorgeously delivered lyrics up with eagerness.

Several of Tori’s new tracks from her latest release were showcased throughout the set. Star Whisperer and Fearlessness were among a couple of her recent catalogue additions that were met with a rapturous stamp of approval from the audience as well as the whimsically string heavy and beautifully titled Nautical Twilight.

Some of the more obvious additions in the set included the classic Tori number Precious Things that got the crowd into a frenzy along with my personal favorite Spark and a fantastic version of Cruel, both of which featured on the singers 1998 record From The Choirgirl Hotel.

Another gorgeous high in the set came from a minimalistic performance of Little Earthquakes’ China which shone within the set like the singers eccentrically wonderful personality. With moving lyrics and the singers incredible ability at story telling the track sat confidently within the set and was one of the most memorable moments of the night.

Closing the nights performance and with her quartet at the ready Tori offered us a three track set that included Baker Baker in all its wondrous piano filled glory and came with several crowd hollers to the singer who smiled as she sat perched gracefully behind her grand piano. Baker Baker was then followed by Siren and the crowd stomper Big Wheel which, since its emergence on the singers 2007 American Doll Posse record, has proven to be a popular and momentum building crowd-pleaser that allows the singer to interact fully with her audience in many of the sing along moments throughout the track.

As the song drew to a close the star rose from her piano and took a much deserved bow to the crowd who had all run to the front of the venue to get closer to their musical idol before she exited the stage.

Thursdays performance was nothing short of spectacular but as a Tori fan I have learned to expect nothing less from a Tori Amos concert. The multi-talented beauty has never failed at providing a fantastic night of iconic classics mixed with new superbly presented tracks as well as some amazing covers that the singer makes entirely her own and puts her trademark piano stamp on and this performance as part of her Night of Hunters tour was no exception for one of the most gifted and musically blessed artists of our time.

Set list:

Shattering Sea
Tori Says Hello
Ode To The Banana King
Maybe California
A Sorta Fairytale
Ruby Through The Looking Glass
Never Seen Blue
Cloud On My Tongue
Girl Disappearing
Star Whisperer
That Guy
Way Down
Precious Things
Nautical Twilight
A Multitude Of Shades
Baker Baker
Big Wheel