Photography: Trystan Trenberth
Tori Amos – Ikeda Theater: Mesa, Arizona 11/29/2017
Tori Amos, the singer-pianist-songwriter with a lilting mezzo-soprano range has morphed seamlessly and agelessly throughout the last 25+ years since her solo debut was released. She is unapologetically unfiltered and flays social norms with style and grace. She continues to deliver music that doesn’t fit in the mold of just another catchy-tune, she wants the music to hit hard and leave its mark. her performance shows that the music is first, the glitz and showmanship only a byproduct. Historically her lyrics touched upon topics like menopause, miscarriages, church and sexual assault, draped with complex harmonics and key-changes that defy the norms in songwriting that most writers bow to unfailingly. Having seen her perform live several times over the years, its easy to understand her long career including five consecutive platinum selling albums in addition to her continuing to maintain relevancy in a fickle industry.
Her 15th studio album Native Invader delivers no less punch with lyrics on political violence, her mothers failing health, and environmental concerns. Even with all these heavy topics the mood and vibe in the Ikeda Theater in Mesa, Arizona was anything but down.
Tori took the stage, back-dropped with slash and burn forest fire ragging in the back-ground, as bright a beta fish in billowy bright red top with long ribbons on each wrist, with signature impractical shoes and iconic orange long flowing hair she is the same woman fans feel they have known for all these years. Tori starts her set with ethereal flow touching on a piece off her album the Choirgirl Hotel with her saturation of emotion and message of sacrifice. Simplistic stage of a girl and her gear, she nonetheless riveted even the most stoic of audience members into her web and pulled us all along on an adventure as she sinks into and becomes part of her music. This woman has serious stage presence and even with its simplicity managed to fill the entire space with what only can be described as Tori Amos.
Her solid riffs and splitting her time between her Piano, keyboard and organ, often at the same time, remind us all that we are looking at the original rebel child prodigy that has inspired dozens of the new generation of women that are comfortable with who they are and unashamed of where life has brought them. Her vocal range is only rivaled by her depth of emotion as she rocketed off Little Amsterdam from her 1996 album Boys for Pele. She redefined a few covers during the segment “Fake Muse Network”. Tori held steady the whole show, only really pausing once to reapply lip gloss and banter with the crowd between sharing her impressive extensive repertoire with her audience.
Overall the set list was a solid whirlwind of color, emotion and sound, she sparkles, shines, giggles, and smiles then in a split second “Poof” she’s gone.
My recommendation: See Tori Amos live, it’s a totally different experience than online or just audio, she is a fantastic Live performer.
My 1st impression: Well that was over 20 years ago and it remains the same, I’m always in awe.
Songs to Listen: Winter, Caught a Lite Sneeze, and Tear in Your Hand
Observations: Diverse crowd from an age perspective, mostly it was a ladies night.
Random Comment: (mother to daughter) “Shhh this is my jam”.
Opener: Scars on 45, a trio from Bradford, UK, won the crowd over with funny stories, dry humor and a solid sound. Check them out HERE.