Home Editor's Picks Venus Envy, Tori Amos 7/14/23

Venus Envy, Tori Amos 7/14/23

by Stacey Rios

If you ever wanted to hear a crowd scream and go crazy over a solo act playing a piano solo, here is your chance. The audience had been waiting in anticipation amidst rain and thunderstorm warnings, possibly brought on by the force of nature scheduled to appear at the art deco inspired Stifel theatre. Tori Amos stepped out on stage in her staple stiletto heels. She was met with a roaring crowd rivaling any of the popular sports events in town. 

Tonight’s setlist was largely comprised of songs from earlier works such as; “To Venus and Back” and “Boys for Pele”. If you have seen Tori before (the real fans are on a first name basis), you know her setlists can encompass anything you could imagine from a 17 album catalog. The night starts with the dreamy “A Sorta Fairytale”, an otherworldly starry back drop behind the band. She takes a few minutes to talk to the crowd after opening the show, saying she would like to “pay homage to the librarians”. Tori is accompanied by bassist and long term collaborator Jon Evans and drummer/studio musician extraordinaire Ash Soan. She trades musical phrases with Evans as Soan swells on cymbals. The lights turn to watery reflections and you are taken to the musical depths for “Ocean to Ocean”. “Not Tonight, Josephine” is back-lit like a French flag, the sound of military snare drum as she sings, “1200 spires, the only sound Moscow burning”. 

Fans hoping for solo Tori performances were also rewarded with a long, soulful version of “Way Down”, followed by “Blood Roses”. She swiveled back and forth from piano to keys, alternating mics, sometimes playing keys and piano at the same time. Her voice is conversational, both singing, joking, and bantering between songs, but also punctuating cadences with tantrum-like piano slams. She gives you the impression that, like a housecat, she is beautiful, graceful, friendly. You can talk, pet, get to know each other. But she might also bite you if you get too familiar. 

The band rejoins for “Putting the Damage On” with Evans on an upright and Sloan with brushes. Between songs, there are tone poem interludes. During songs, the band is providing everything from lyrical solos to meditative drones, swells and ambience. The night was finished off with encores “Cornflake Girl” and “Tombigbee”. “Cornflake Girl” provided the chance for the band and Tori to just play their asses off, trading solos and riffs, bringing the crowd out of their seats. “Tombigbee” jammed out with syncopated rhythms and organ, peaking the dynamics for the end of the night. Thunderous applause matched the thunder of the evenings raging storms, both in the theatre and out.

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Singer, multi-instrumentalist, half of Social Butterflies, concert enthusiast, BA in Instrumental Music! Catch me gigging, working promotions, gogo dancing, hosting events, or petting cats & dogs. Pineapple on pizza, fight me!

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