Glasgow 02 Academy, October 6 2017
How good was Tori Amos live? Even three days later, I’ve still got a glorious glow just thinking about the gig…
The gig was the final night of the European tour supporting her new album Native Invader. A quarter of a century since she appeared with her debut Little Earthquakes, she still seems like very few before or after her. Sure, comparisons may be made with (insert name here) or (insert name here) if you must. But as she walked out onto a stage – just her, her faithful Bosendorfer concert grand piano and a couple of keyboards – she gets a standing ovation just walking on stage. It probably is easier if you’re playing to an adoring crowd, rather than struggling to be heard amongst people who aren’t there to see you, but what is clear is that she has won fans over, and they aren’t about to let her go.
She’s clearly had a great tour – and the warmth of Glasgow audiences is rightly legendary. With a pretty damn impressive back catalogue, she’s never going to be able to play every one of the favourites and promote the new album. But the gig felt like a great crowd supporting a great artist.
I first heard her in 1991, a few months before the album came out when ‘Silent All These Years’ came out (it would later make the top 40; she’s had a number of bona fide hits here in Britain over the years). It sounded like nothing else at the time. So to finally hear it live is a dream come true and the sense that it’s just as magical and bewitching as it always was.
Many of the crowd are delirious to hear ‘Baker Baker’ – but me, I’m delighted to hear favourites like ‘Sparkle’ -‘she’s addicted to nicotine patches’ indeed, and I realise that ‘Winter’ may indeed be my favourite song of hers after all (for a long time I might have plumped for ‘Sister Janet’, b-side to ‘Cornflake Girl,’ her forst top ten hit). Her cover of Leonard Cohen’s ‘Famous Blue Raincoat’ is as heartbreaking as the original, and she also weaves in the Eurythmics’ ‘Here Comes The Rain Again’ into the set.
Perhaps most revelatory is hearing ‘Blood Roses’ live. On record I’d found the track from Boys For Pele unsettling and alienating. Yet hearing it live, it all makes sense. I’d been privilged to be able to review the gig for free – but within a very short time, I felt that I would have been delighted if I had paid for both mine and my fiancees tickets.