Still Captivating After All These Years

August 14th, 2009

Tori Amos – Radio City Music Hall – August 13, 2009

Tori Amos

Touring in support of her most recent album, Abnormally Attracted to Sin, pianist and singer Tori Amos played only a handful of songs from the new record last night as part of her lengthy set at Radio City Music Hall. Though most performers relish the opportunity to test-drive new material and push aside older songs, Amos seems to live by the principle that as her repertoire expands, so shall the scope of her set list. And rightly so—there would be quite an outcry from her voracious fans should any old favorites suddenly be deemed obsolete.

In concert, Amos possesses not only the intuition to craft sets comprised of favorites, new and old, but the ability to truly inhabit her unique songs with a dynamic stage presence. From the show’s opener, “Give,” a pulsing, slow-burn of a song, which found Amos a bit reserved and brooding, to the exuberant crowd-pleaser “Cornflake Girl,” she even managed to fit in a heartfelt cover of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” Throughout the show, Amos played up the more sensual elements of her songs, straddling her piano bench, kicking out a high-heeled foot, or gesturing suggestively, long red hair swirling down her back as she displayed her signature move of masterfully playing two keyboards simultaneously.

Although we’ve all come a long way since Amos’s 1991 debut album, Little Earthquakes, when she played the opening chords of “Precious Things,” the crowd’s overwhelming excitement proved that the song may be almost 20 years old, but it remains just as captivating now as it ever was. —Alena Kastin