Rock: Lust for married life
TORI AMOS ROYAL FESTIVAL HALL LONDON
Monday 01 November 1999
Privy to such knowledge, one feels a little voyeuristic when considering her relationship with Mark Hawley, the Englishman who is her husband and sound-engineer.
US-born Amos now lives in Cornwall, but tonight's performance was the first on British soil in support of her new album. When she co-headlined a recent US tour with Alanis Morissette, she was accompanied by a three- piece band. In stark contrast, this was stripped down affair with Tori performing solo at the piano.
Successful as many of her more avant-garde excursions are, this is undoubtedly the context in which her technical prowess flourishes and her fans enjoy her most.
Her hair freshly crimped, she took the stage wearing a loose-fitting purple smock, then stood at the mike for an a-capella version of Me and a Gun. Confidence wise, it was a real show of strength, and the audience were immediately in her thrall. Next came Bliss, the first single to be taken from the new album.
Paradoxically, Bliss sounded twice as powerful when it was stripped to its bare bones; the vocal urgent and passionate, the piano playing fluid and agile.
What was striking was just how relaxed Amos seems to be on stage these days. If she splits the critics, the ones who continue to cast her as a manquee Kate Bush don't seem to be getting her down.
At one point in her performance, she related the story about how she's once deputised for Al Stewart's piano player at this venue, and unsure of the year, she asked her mum - who was sitting a few rows in - to confirm the dates.
Tori's father, the Reverend Amos, was also in attendance, and as far as I could make out, neither parent flinched when their daughter peppered her introductions with the f-word.
Ecumenicalism begins at home.
Set highlights included Professional Widow, still surprisingly powerful minus its four-on-the-floor drum loop, and her cover of Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirit, which transformed the grunge anthem of the early Nineties into a beautiful threnody for Kurt Cobain himself.
As a critic, I'll confess that sometimes I'm tempted to tone down my enthusiasm for an artist after reading negative reviews elsewhere. I came here tonight to be a little tougher on Tori Amos, but once again, she won me over.
Put simply, you can't stop a diamond from sparkling.
musicReview: Culture Club performs live for first time in 12 years
Children's bookseller wins The Independent's new author search
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Russell Brand says he will 'probably' give up acting to focus on his revolution
- 2 Watch what happened when food critics were unknowingly served McDonald's
- 3 David Beckham's Haig Club whisky is exactly what’s wrong with the Highlands
- 4 Queen's first tweet: Reply telling Her Majesty to 'f*** off' broadcast on BBC News
- 5 #AskNigelFarage: Twitter starts hilarious Q&A for Ukip leader
This is what a film sex scene actually looks like on set (mostly awkward)
Revolutionary lost Caravaggio painting 'Mary Magdalen in Ecstasy' identified
Pottermore: JK Rowling writes new Harry Potter story featuring 'greying' 33-year-old wizard
JK Rowling to publish new Harry Potter story online for Halloween
Fury, film review: Brad Pitt stars in visceral and brutally ugly drama that reminds us war is hell
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Support for EU membership 'at highest level since 1991' with most Brits wanting to stay 'in'
Tony Blair 'says Ed Miliband will lose 2015 general election'
Thousands with degenerative conditions classified as 'fit to work in future' – despite no possibility of improvement
Putin: The US is to blame for almost all the world's major conflicts
Poppy Appeal 2014: This is why I won't be wearing a red poppy this year