I was going to write a review of last night’s Tori Amos concert at the Greek Theater, but I realized I already wrote most of it about the Concert at Royce Hall back in April.
We got tickets for this one because it was a new tour, and we figured there was a chance it would be a different type of concert. Eventually it became clear from her newsletter that it was going to be the same type of show—just her, a piano, two organs and a synthesizer—but hey, we liked the last one, and we already had the tickets!
As it turned out, it was the same type of show, but a very different selection of songs. I tried to write down everything I remembered her playing last night, and compared it to the list from the last concert, and there are only 5 songs in common, all from the new album!
Some of the interesting bits: Leading into “Carbon,” she added a verse about this crazy redhead driving around the same streets as you, and flicking you off, and yes, that was me. She covered “Nights in White Satin” and a Pearl Jam song I didn’t recognize (Edit: “Black”), and mixed “God” with a Kate Bush song (Edit: “Running Up that Hill” a.k.a. “A Deal with God”).
Her performance of “Winter” was a great example of how to professionally deal with mistakes. In theater, particularly music theater, we’re taught that if you make a mistake, you act as if you meant it, because the whole thing is to present the story. You don’t want to break the fourth wall. But with a concert, you don’t have to worry about the fourth wall—some singers especially want to make a connection to the audience. In that case, it’s often better to acknowledge the mistake, then pick up the performance again. Well, she got one line into the second verse, and suddenly stared at the audience and gasped, “Oh my God!” She kept playing the piano, though, and started ad-libbing about forgetting lines, and joked that she sometimes feels like she’s in winter herself, then went back to the beginning and played the whole song through.
So, in the style of the last review…
- More good “quiet Tori.”
- Good acoustics again. The Greek is one of the few venues I’ve been to where singers’ voices aren’t distorted by the sound system.
- Several ad-libs and covers that you won’t hear anywhere else.
- Two of my three favorite Tori songs: “A Sorta Fairytale” and “Winter.”
- Great backdrop of hills, trees and fog, with a nearly-full moon slowly rising above the amphitheater.
- Not all of my shivering was from the cold.
- Still don’t like the Hammond organ. At least she only used it on a couple of songs.
- Her tendency to slow… some… songs… way… down… on this tour got on my nerves this time.
- For some reason her variable accent bothered me more than usual, or maybe it was more pronounced last night.
- It was colder than we expected. We had jackets, but could have used heavier ones.
- Still no “1,000 Oceans.”
The last time I heard “1,000 Oceans” in concert was in 1999. For some reason I hadn’t actually picked up To Venus and Back yet, or hadn’t had a chance to listen to it, and the song just hit both of us.
We actually have a recording of the last concert we went to. It was one of two that were recorded and released as official “bootlegs” through the Tori Amos Bootleg Boutique. The newsletter that announced them said that they plan to release more. I hope this one is on the list!
I think I’ve heard of Tori Amos before… I guess I’ll have to check out some of her music and see if I like it.