Fairy light stars behind red-brick panels are Tori Amos’s backdrop tonight, suiting a woman whose songs are earthy American short stories, filtered through fairy tale metaphor.
The phone-cameras flashing blinding white as she takes her piano-seat indicate the adoration those songs have drawn to this still unusually female, feminist rock hero.
She arrived at the tangled front-line of American gender the same year as Kurt Cobain, 1991. Singing his band Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit”, “Denier!” is the word she pulls out to roar.
She is a highly stylised singer. During “Pancake”’s defiant dialogue with religious slavishness, consonants are left crackling in the mic, as if it’s smoking from a verbal lightning strike. “I’ve got enough guilt to start my own religion,” Amos confides, continuing the theme on “Crucify”.
“You’re just a pussy, my sweet boy,” she taunts on “Sugar”, smacking the piano like the authorities at the door. But she casts her sympathetic net wide, to a “glamorous bitch” and “wonderful boys”.
When she asks the crowd to sing along, though, few do. It’s symptomatic of impressively performed songs, whose connection falls flat somewhere in the dark.Reuse content