Tori Amos

support Trevor Moss and Hanna Lou
author LF date 24/05/14 venue DR Koncerthuset, Koncertsalen, Copenhagen, DEN

Tonight marks the third time I find myself at DR Koncerthuset for a show this year, and my second time in the magnificent Koncertsalen and I have nothing but confidence in the sound of the venue as I make my way there. As I've only heard praise for the live shows of Tori Amos, I am reasonably excited for tonight's performance. I am a big fan of her work, but since 2009 she has sort of fallen off my radar, and her releases since are not too familiar to me. While I wait in line, I am anxious to discover how she will compose her set list, of course hoping that it will comprise all of my old favorites. Her show also acts as a break in my attendance of the Nordic Noise event that is happening this very weekend in Copenhagen so in an attempt to clear my head of hard rock and soaring guitars, I head for my balcony seat early in hope of relaxing a little bit before the show begins. But for some reason, somebody in control of background music here has decided to play nothing but Led Zeppelin songs so instead I find myself casually rocking out in anticipation of the evening's support band.

More pictures at troest.nu

Trevor Moss and Hannah Lou

Placing themselves in front of the piano setup that stands on the stage waiting for Tori Amos, the British couple that is Trevor Moss and Hannah Lou appear with an acoustic guitar each and begin unfurling their appealing and confident folk pop harmonies. They share one microphone during their entire set, which makes it a very intimate show on a stage that is perhaps a little too big for it. Their songs are melancholic but light-hearted, and they even fit in a cover of Bob Dylan's "It Ain't Me Babe" in celebration of this day being his 73rd birthday. There is a strange tension to their live show as the way they look at nobody but each other when they sing makes their music seem very introverted. At the same time however, their voices are extremely expressive and they are good at communicating with the audience, really guiding us through their set, and filling the stage with their charisma. I am never truly touched by their sweet lyrics but they set a good mood for what is to come.

Tori Amos

In the relatively short break between acts tonight, an assistant quickly gets busy cleaning the keys of both the grand piano and the keyboard standing on the stage, making for an eclectic and noisy musical mix with Led Zeppelin who have reappeared in the speakers. After this curious spectacle, the room goes dark and to partly standing applause the magnificent Tori Amos enters and bows deeply to her audience, her red hair flowing everywhere, before settling by the piano and opening her set with "Parasol". Her music can be characterized as a kind of piano rock, but as she is alone on the stage tonight, she appears more as a singer-songwriter but still with a characteristic attitude as she isn't afraid of occasionally hitting her grand piano with her hand to create rhythms or banging her head to the music. Between each song the lights dim, and a lonely UV-projector shines at her, making the colours of the silky robe that she is wearing light up futuristically. She tells us after a couple of songs, that she has never in her fifty years of life tried performing with people on all sides of her, as is the case in the venue tonight, but she smiles and adds confidently that we will figure this out together before singing the unmistakable first words of one of my old favorites "Crucify", making for the first of many touching moments for me tonight.

As it turns out, my worries for the set list were not needed at all because it is absolutely amazing, as evident in how the ear-numbing clapping after each song doesn't stop before Amos begins playing the next one. About half of the songs she plays tonight could be on my imaginary list of all time best songs I know. Her manner of freely rearranging her songs while she plays them in her almost yoga-like position, often playing both the grand piano and the keyboard (later exchanged with an organ) at the same time, makes most of them even more expressive than on record. During three of the songs from her debut album "Little Earthquakes", namely "Silent All These Years" early in the set, "Precious Things" ending the regular set, and the final song "Tear in Your Hand", I'm almost moved to tears and can do nothing but listen in awe. The sheer care she puts into articulating syllables in her characteristic way, while working her piano-magic seamlessly charges every word and every note with an energy able to pierce the very soul of its listener. Of the rest of the set list, it is close to impossible to pick anything out as stronger than the rest, as Amos is able to command the audience's undivided attention with pretty much every breath. Considering my disappointment in the very polished sound of her latest album, I'm certainly happy to report that she's as eclectic as ever when she gets to play her songs live and on her own like this.

When she rises to bow and get off the stage after a hypnotizing performance of "Precious Things" that has completely nailed me to the spot, people in the audience downstairs rush to the front of the stage all claps and cheers, but Amos leaves them there for now and quickly returns for her encore. After the sweet and up-beat "Mr. Zebra", "Cornflake Girl" starts with a full backing track complete with vocal choir effects by herself booming across the room, prompting a regular party to break out in front of the stage, where more people appear as the song progresses. Another old favorite of mine, "General Joy", is similarly started by a dark rhythm track somewhere, before the hopeful "Pretty Good Year" and the immense "Tear in Your Hand" bring the tempo back down featuring only Amos herself on piano again. While her music definitely affected me the most when not featuring anything but keys and vocals, I am intrigued enough by her performance of "Cornflake Girl" that if she someday should return with a full band, I would go see her again, as I bet the performance would be as powerful as the one she has put on tonight. She is such a characteristic personality and that shows in every aspect of her music tonight, making it probably the most personal and honest show I have ever had the pleasure of witnessing.

9

Setlist:

  • 1. Parasol
  • 2. Pancake
  • 3. Crucify
  • 4. Apollo's Frock
  • 5. Silent All These Years
  • 6. The Power of Orange Knickers
  • 7. Selkie
  • 8. A Case of You (Joni Mitchell cover)
  • 9. Suzanne (Leonard Cohen cover)
  • 10. China
  • 11. Oysters
  • 12. Siren
  • 13. Take to the Sky
  • 14. Scarlet's Walk
  • 15. Precious Things

- Encore

  • 16. Mr. Zebra
  • 17. Cornflake Girl
  • 18. General Joy
  • 19. Pretty Good Year
  • 20. Tear in Your Hand

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