Once again, Amos delves into darkness with delight
On my way to Monday night’s Tori Amos concert at the
Suffice it to say that Amos’s relationship to religion, God, sex, love, and her fellow man remains considerably more complicated. Some 17 years after Amos’s watershed debut album, “Little Earthquakes,’’ established her as a major artist with major issues, the piano-straddling singer-songwriter is still probing her inner demons, divas, and demimondes to powerfully dramatic effect. This is a woman who titled her latest album “Abnormally Attracted to Sin,’’ after all.
On Monday, Amos reinforced this publicly declared predilection with a sumptuous, yet sharply focused two-hour set spiked with old wounded favorites (a stirring “Silent All These Years’’) and newly fanged predators (a Goth-tinged “Give,’’ which opened the show on a baleful note).
Although Amos vamped, shimmied, and danced lightly over the new material, performing only four of the dozen songs on “Sin’’ in favor of digging deeply (and satisfyingly) into her catalog, new material such as “Strong Black Vine’’ and “Welcome to England’’ were sturdy studies of dark momentum. And after all these years, glittering, defiant daggers like “Precious Things’’ and “Tear in Your Hand’’ sounded as poisonously pretty, and harrowing, as ever.
The supple rhythm section of longtime drummer Matt Chamberlain and bassist Jon Evans adroitly followed every one of Amos’s compositional detours and hairpin turns. The singer, flanked by piano and a couple of keyboards, was in limber voice.
She sang with authority and gusto, and wasted no opportunity to revel in the narrative dioramas of her emotionally scarred epics. Here she twisted and stretched her vowels with the same relish with which she contorted her lithe frame across and over her piano. There she bit down on her consonants as hard as she hit the keys.
Closing on a light, leavening note - this show marked the final concert of Amos’s US tour - she emerged for the encore, clad in platinum blond wig and flapper dress, cocktail in hand. She tossed her cherry and delved into a clutch of campy, double-entendre dandies: “Raspberry Swirl,’’ “She’s Your Cocaine,’’ and, finally, a swinging “Body and Soul’’ that suggested she was in no hurry to meet her maker yet either.