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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, December 1, 2017 - Volume 45 Issue 48
Tori Amos is perfection at sold out Seattle concert
Arts & Entertainment
ALL STORIES
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Tori Amos is perfection at sold out Seattle concert

by Albert Rodriguez - SGN A&E Writer

TORI AMOS
PARAMOUNT THEATRE
November 24


There is no liking Tori Amos, you either love her or you don't. And if you don't, it's possible we can't be friends. She is beloved and worshipped by fans. We connect with her emotionally and spiritually in a way that we don't with other artists. It's a chemistry and a loyalty between her and us that runs deep.

The highly acclaimed singer-songwriter performed to a sold out audience last weekend at the Paramount Theatre, her first Seattle appearance in several years. Her current tour promotes the release of Amos' fifteenth studio album Native Invader, but interestingly - and she's always been interesting - she only played a single track from it, 'Wildwood.' Instead, she played a fifteen-song show with music from various recordings that stretched to just under two hours, captivating the crowd from the second she strolled on stage dressed in black pants, a light blue and black top with long, wavy bright red hair that hung over each of her shoulders. She also wears glasses full time these days.

Amos looked radiant on Friday night, but more importantly she sounded exceptional. From the opening number, 'iieee,' a track off 1998's From the Choirgirl Hotel album, we just knew that we were in for a treat. 'Amber Waves' featured an intro of 'America the Beautiful,' while 'Beauty of Speed' from 2007's American Doll Posse was performed as a dramatic ballad vs. the original mid-tempo version.

'Thank you for coming out tonight,' said Amos early in the evening. It was one of the few moments she interacted with the audience, many of whom were gay men in their 30s and 40s, who'd grown up listening to her music, possibly going as far back as her critically praised 1992 debut Little Earthquakes. From that album, she sang a wonderful version of 'Silent All These Years,' a song used by the RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) campaign to raise awareness of domestic violence. Amos sarcastically crossed her legs and looked directly at the audience when she landed on the lyrics, 'So you found a girl who thinks really deep thoughts / What's so amazing about really deep thoughts?'

Many of the songs on Amos' set list last Friday were fan requests, which is why she strayed from playing newer material. A stellar, extended rendition of 'Seaside' highlighted her chops on both traditional piano and electric keyboard, which she played skillfully by herself, at times simultaneously, while sitting between the two. Indeed, Amos was a one-woman band at the Paramount, utilizing only pre-recorded background music, but performing the lead vocals and instruments for each song throughout the concert.

A couple of covers were squeezed into the show, as Amos played unique interpretations of Fleetwood Mac's 'Silver Springs,' citing Stevie Nicks as one of her favorite songwriters, and U2's 'Running to Stand Still.' Meanwhile, another pair of surprise entries on the set list, 'Seaside' and 'Apollo's Frock,' were plucked out of a little project from 2004 called Scarlet's Hidden Treasures, consisting of six tracks that had all been written years before.

Prior to 'Wildwood,' the main set's closing number, Amos delighted the packed theater with an effortless delivery of 'Forest of Glass' from the 2014 release, Unrepentant Geraldines. As she left the stage, blowing kisses to the audience and shaking hands with a couple of lucky fans at the front, the crowd rose to its feet and began to cheer for an encore. Within a few minutes, Amos obliged and returned. A few dozen admirers rushed towards the stage to get a closer experience, something not usually allowed at theater concerts anymore, but the security guards didn't seem to mind and neither did the alternative rock goddess who welcomed them like a mother seeing her college kids come home for the holidays.

The two-song encore was a complete turnaround from the main set with Amos performing upbeat, remix-like versions of 'Precious Things' and 'Raspberry Swirl.' (The latter found lots of folks dancing up towards the front and in the aisles.) With colorful strobe lights flashing in all directions and a starry, disco ball-style reflection covering the stage, it felt as if we'd been transported to a gay club.

This was a flawless performance. Yes, I would've loved for Amos to have tacked on a few more songs at the end; but what we got were fifteen perfectly executed pieces of music that some of us had been dying to hear for ages. The show felt intimate, perhaps because she played alone and maybe because aside from a large screen behind her that displayed an occasional image of a forest, mountain, or something else of natural beauty, there was nothing to distract us from watching and listening to her, which is exactly what we wanted that night: Tori Amos all to ourselves.

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