When singer-pianist Tori Amos took the stage last night at the Keybank State Theater, audience members cheered wildly, letting her know they were eager for one of her uniquely magical performances. After playing the opening number “i i e e e," Amos shouted, “You guys fucking rock. You’re living up to your reputation!”
You can see a slideshow of photos from the concert here
She continued with her classics “Way Down,” “Pretty Good Year,” “Pancake,” “Virginia” and “Cooling.”
For the majority of the show, patrons sat in their seats like dutiful subjects in the presence of an exotic creature in her natural habitat. Her innate raw talent was so intimate, personal and pure it felt almost obscene to be watching in it public.
Her pianos aren't instruments that live outside her body, but they're more like organs that live within her, like lungs she needs for breathing. One was a handsome black piano, the other was a cherry red keyboard. They were positioned side by side, the two separated only by one bench. That bench was Amos’ home for the night, as she swiveled back and forth, playing the piano then swishing around to play the keyboards, often playing everything at the same time, the deliberate whips of her thick crimson locks hypnotizing the crowd. Kicking her electric cobalt stilettos into the air as she played with the delicate curve of her calf muscles showcased inside leather-like leggings, her strong femininity was a major focal point of the evening.
After an extended, emotional version of “Crucify,” Amos emphatically slapped the side of her piano, as if to say, "That’s a good piano, good job, but you’re my bitch and don’t ever forget it."
Each song wove into the next, turning the night into one giant guttural lullaby, drifting her audience off into a seemingly sweet dream. Her visual themes were red and blue, fire and ice, extremes, like Amos herself, who sat there in a resplendent blue dress. Her songs were melodic screams for the attention of her maker, questioning why am I here, why do I suffer, and why don’t you love me. And then she would flip her hair and flash a huge grin to the crowd, as if to say, "Don’t be afraid, don’t worry about me, I’m fine."
For the cover song portion of the set, the backdrop featured the words “Fake Muse Network” in Fox News lettering. Her first cover was the Beatles’ “The Long Winding Road.” She told a story about the time she was in a car with Chrissie Hynde in London, and they ran out of gas. She said walking to a gas station with Hynde was the most surreal moment of her life. She then performed a cover of the Pretenders’ “Back on the Chain Gang.”
She continued the night with the new track “Reindeer King” and then returned to her catalogue for “Apollo’s Frock,” “Mother,” “Mother Revolution” and “Spring Haze.”
As soon as she stood to take her bow, there was a mad dash to the stage as fans rushed to be near her. For the encore, most fans remained standing in front of their seats and in the aisles as she performed “A Sorta Fairytale” and a devastatingly haunted rendition of “Precious Things.” Synthetic stars twinkled all around her as she sang on stage in darkness, a single spotlight lighting her way. The audience became tiny stars orbiting her blinding superstardom like insignificant specks trying to feel the reflection of her force, desperately trying to capture a fraction of her power.
Amos was supported by the charming English trio Scars on 45, who won the crowd over with semi-acoustic tunes such as “Crazy For You” and “Teenage Superstar.”