Tori Amos intimate and loud

                     By JOHN SAKAMOTO
                     Executive Producer, Jam! Showbiz

                 TORONTO -- The irony was not lost on anyone,
               least of all Tori Amos herself.

               Touring with a full band for the first time, Amos
               delivered what was quite possibly both the loudest
               and most intimate performance any music fan is
               likely to witness this year.

               More accurately, Amos and her AUDIENCE
               delivered on the intimate part.

               The crowd of undyingly loyal devotees that packed
               the Phoenix Concert Theatre, Tuesday night
               proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that there is
               no performer anywhere who commands as
               responsive a fan base as Amos does.

               This in spite of the fact that almost half of her
               16-song, 100-minute set -- the sole Canadian stop
               on a two-week club tour leading up to next week's
               release of her fourth solo album, "from the choirgirl
               hotel" -- consisted of material that virtually no one
               in the audience has heard yet.

               Six of the 16 songs were drawn from that album,
               while a seventh -- a poignant new track called
               "Cooling" -- has been released only in Europe as a
               B-side to her current single, "Spark". It is entirely
               typical of Amos's audience that she performed the
               song because someone in the crowd
               REQUESTED it.

               Though there has been some concern among
               hardcore fans that the ineffable bond between
               Amos and her fans would be damaged by the
               "intrusion" of a full band, that scenario never

               In fact, the evening's highlights included jagged,
               in-your-face overhauls of favorites like "Horses",
               "The Waitress", and "God", the latter of which
               featured a sly quote from a most unlikely source:
               The Gap Band's 1982 hit, "You Dropped A Bomb
               On Me".

               Of the new material, both "Northern Lad" and the
               stunning "Jackie's Strength" -- the latter inspired in
               part by Jackie Kennedy and introduced as being
               "about a girl getting lost on her wedding day" --
               packed even more of an emotional wallop than the
               recorded versions.

               Not that every number was pounded into
               submission. The three-piece band features a sterling
               rhythm section of ex-Pearl Jam drummer Matt
               Chamberlain and San Francisco jazz bassist Jon
               Evans, plus guitarist Steve Caton, who has been
               with Amos since the days of her ill-fated '80s hair
               band, Y Kant Tori Read.

               That combination was nimble enough to take the
               "Boys For Pele" track "Doughnut Song" and make
               it sound far more witty than it does on record.

               Still, the high point for many of the faithful was
               undoubtedly the all-too-brief, two-song solo set
               Amos dropped into the middle of the show.

               Playfully shooing the band off stage, she reeled off
               absolutely spellbinding renditions of "Mother" and
               "Baker Baker".

               Once the band returned for the last half-dozen
               numbers, you could almost sense the ache of
               knowing that, no matter how powerful Amos's
               music sounds on stage in 1998, something
               intangible had disappeared forever.

               The complete set list for Tori Amos's show at
               the Phoenix Concert Theatre, Toronto, April
               28, 1998

articles & chat transcripts