Artist: Tori Amos
Date: August 13, 2009
Venue: Radio City Music Hall
City: New York, NY
Review by Karen Hester
Warning: there’s a little bit of strong language here, but if you’re a fan of Tori, you’re used to that.
The first time I saw Tori was Little Earthquakes and she was fresh and funny, a personable frizzy red-head in jeans, telling us jokes and plucking our heart-strings. At my second Tori concert 15 years later, Pip strode out in a black wig and glamorous leather and screamed about motherfucking cunts.
The Radio City Music Hall Abnormally Attracted to Sin concert was a partially deflated balloon: periodically aloft and bouncy, othertimes drifting across the carpet picking up fur and crumbs of meals past.
Photo from [msg.com]
Highlights included Space Dog with a backdrop of sparkling blue lights. The dawg rocked. Cornflake Girl and Precious Things were great with their tight arrangements – all the players (T on multiple keyboards, Jon Evans on bass, Matt Chamberlain on drums) knew what to do (though the audience perhaps knows what they’re going to do too well). Talula and full-band Icicle were strong and brought out new aspects of the songs. Raspberry Swirl and Caught a Lite Sneeze weren’t perfect versions, but both fun. The pretty lighting was also a highlight, though I’m not sure about the intent behind directing lights AT the audience – you think we enjoy being blinded, why?
The middle section of the concert was so damn slow though. Andante, then adagio, then largo, then grave, then curled up in bed with a soft pillow and a belly full of hot cocoa. How many freaking slow songs can she play? My mind wandered. I itemized the cutlery drying in my dish tray.
I’ll list the slooooow songs all together to emphasize my point: Give, Flavor, Lady in bloooo, Little earthquakes, Winter, Smells like Teen Spirit, Icicle, Bells for Her. And then to give it some pace she slipped in the slight Jamaica Inn (bah!) and a mediocre Marys of the Sea (I enjoy this florid song, but the band version is turgid.) Also an unsuccessful Concertina, a pretty little song which with a light touch is charming, but this clunky band version made it sound simplistic rather than simple.
Talula into Fast Horse would have had me wriggling with delight, such a great combination, but no, she cut the fast song (see, it’s even got a speedy name). A large impersonal venue like Radio City Music Hall does better with broad loud strokes. You could see attention drifting during the slow periods with toilet breaks, alcohol purchases and conversations. Pretty full venue though, which is good. People seemed to enjoy themselves, though security wouldn’t let people dance in the aisles during the encore.
Tori wore polished black heels, black tights and an Indian fringed tunic/dress in, perhaps, black and gray checked suit material. Or something. Well designed for her movement between keyboards. She also wore her eyebrows, but soon they will wriggle up to merge with her hair line.