Tori Amos is without a doubt one of the greatest musicians of the modern era. Forget about whether you love her music or not for a minute, which I confess I love – it’s her musicality that has me awe struck every time I have the great pleasure of watching her play a live show.
In her trademark straddle of her piano stool with her stiletto heals strewn each on peddles – but either side of her piano stool, one foot for her famed Bösendorfer piano the other her keyboard. It’s not that spectacle that gets me entirely. It is and always has been the fact that the first time I saw Tori play she was in this classic position all the while playing each keyboard and singing – I was without a doubt blown away as my mind boggled at this multitasking musician. As a musician myself that multifaceted playing still blows my mind. Add in Tori’s ability to play her songs in any key and mash them up with ease and her penchant for famously covering some of the greatest songs on this planet and make them distinctively her own – that is her undeniable talent.
I first began listening to Tori back in my formative years (couldn’t help it, sorry guys) and she has been a friend through life’s trials and tribulations ever since. Her songs became my coming out anthems along with Ani Difranco, Sarah McLachlan and Tegan and Sara. Yet it was Tori’s music that always got the better of me, with her intricate piano playing – that I knew I would never master and her mezzo-soprano voice, which I knew I could, I would listen to her and dream of greater things to come.
With all these memories I headed off on Saturday night to the classic Palais Theatre in Melbourne’s bayside suburb of St Kilda to once again bare witness to an intimate evening with Tori Amos. Gone was the symphony orchestra that accompanied her just a few days earlier at the epic Sydney Opera House and tonight it was just how I like her, the keyboard, Bösendorfer and a set of killer stilettos. What I got was nothing less than one of Tori’s best performances. It was fun loving Tori tonight who proclaimed that tonight was all requests. As she wound through a vast number of back catalogue hits and intertwined them with some new tracks she seemed perfectly at ease and excited by the enthusiasm of the crowd. As she forgot the lyrics a couple of times and no one cared, in fact it probably made us all love her a little more – her trademark banging of the Bösendorfer made a couple of appearances.
It’s a testament to her passion and love for what she does that she captured the audience solidly for two hours without any need for the audience to make multiple trips to the concession stand. Having spent the previous night in the throws of Katy Perry’s Prismatic Tour, where pyrotechnics, sleek dance moves and an energetic Perry still couldn’t match the dizzying bliss of watching Tori at work. What Tori had in pure passion is the very thing that Katy seemed to miss the mark on the night before. With all her glitz and glamour there was a distinct lack of authenticity to Katy’s show that disappointed me.
Standout track of the evening was a difficult call, but it will have to go to two of my all time favourites – which are probably not as widely played as other tracks – ‘Silent All These Years’ and ‘Cooling’ stir up the fondest memories of me singing along and harmonising all those years ago and for that they win out on this evening. Until next time Tori I, like all your fans will wait with anticipation knowing that whenever you do play for us it’s alway memorable.