Tori Amos:
         Sultry Amos underwhelms Massey faithful
               By STEPHEN KNIGHT -- JAM! Showbiz
                        It's a good thing Myra Ellen Amos
                      got booted out of Baltimore's
                      prestigious Peabody Conservatory
                      of Music.
                      If not, the world might never have
                      got to know Tori Amos, the eclectic
                      red-haired waif who belts out a
                      hybrid of pop and piano that is
                      enjoying happy results with both
                      critics and cash registers.
                      Amos, 32, was in Toronto Monday
                      night for the first of three shows in two nights at Massey Hall,
                      and her performance, while riveting, was less than inspiring.
                      The North Carolina native - who now resides in England -
                      began the show with Beauty Queen/Horses from her latest
                      CD, Boys for Pele, a reference to the Hawaiian god of creation
                      and destruction who is honored by having young boys thrown
                      into volcanoes.
                      Amos, clad in black tight-fitting tuxedo slacks, teal pumps and a
                      cutoff vest, was every bit the sultry piano diva. Her body
                      language, mostly writhing on or around her piano stool, was
                      exciting for the crowd, especially during Blood Roses, but she
                      wasn't giving away much conversationally.
                      In a glorious three-tiered, 102-year-old venue made for intimacy
                      between artist and audience, the best between-song banter
                      Amos could muster was, "Girls, if you have a broken heart, go
                      shopping. It really does help."
                      For most of the 19-song set, Amos was alone on the stage,
                      nestled between her black grand piano and a harpsichord.
                      The highlight of Amos' set - and the evening - came during
                      Caught a Lite Sneeze. After some hypnotic harpsichord,
                      Amos then used her piano as a drum, beating on it while wailing
                      the final words. "Boys on my right side/Boys in the middle and
                      you're not here/boys in their dresses/ and you're not here/I need
                      a big loan from the girl zone." Amos' voice was at its angelic,
                      raspy best, fusing innocence and eroticism in a disturbing, but
                      moving, mix.
                      For her megahit Cornflake Girl, Amos was joined by guitarist
                      Steve Caton. A rapt crowd of about 2,700 went wild at its
                      Amos' did not perform her first big single, 1991's Crucify, off
                      her debut CD, Little Earthquakes, which clearly disappointed a
                      few Toriphiles who were yelling from the rafters for it.
                      She made up for the omission by playing a raucous version of
                      Talula, one of the funkier tunes in Amos' often melancholy
                      three-CD repertoire. The piped-in drums were a minor irritant
                      for such a rhythmic song.
                      Amos' crew of mostly twentysomething fans gave her two
                      encores, the first of which contained a cover of Somewhere
                      Over the Rainbow that sounded remarkably like Kate Bush.
                      The Bush comparisons are inevitable, but there is an edge, an
                      unpredictability, to Amos that is not apparent in Bush. Tori
                      Amos is what Kate Bush would become if the latter were under
                      a full moon.
                      Amos' second encore consisted of Tear In Your Hand, Silent
                      All These Years and the plaintive, but catchy Hey, Jupiter.
                      Amos will probably get it right the second time around.

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