This Choirgirl rocks

               Tori Amos bands with friends and bonds with fans

               By JANE STEVENSON
               Toronto Sun
                   Eccentric singer-songwriter-pianist extraordinaire
               Tori Amos rocked -- that's right, rocked -- the
               Phoenix Concert Theatre on Tuesday night.

               Before more than 1,000 of her devoted following
               -- some of whom had been waiting since 9:30 in
               the morning outside the venue to get in -- Amos put
               on a riveting, hour-and-45-minute show with
               material from her beat-heavy new album, From The
               Choirgirl Hotel.

               Helping Amos rock out in a big way were a tight
               trio of musicians, including longtime collaborator
               Steve Caton on guitar, and drummer Matt
               Chamberlain and bassist Jon Evans, who provided
               a deep groove for Amos, flanked by a piano and
               keyboards, which she sometimes played

               The vocally and musically gifted Amos, recently
               named by SPIN as among the "top 40 most vital
               artists in music," was last in town at Massey Hall in
               1996, but then it was just her and Caton.

               With Choirgirl, which hits record stores on
               Tuesday, Amos said she wanted to branch out
               from "the girl and the piano thing" by recording and
               performing -- for the first time -- with a band.

               The change suits her, and the audience -- who
               stood there transfixed, often with arms
               outstretched, when they weren't shouting things like
               "You're my goddess, Tori!" -- apparently agreed.

               Amos, who has been through major personal
               change in the last few years (getting married and
               pregnant and then suffering a miscarriage) also
               seemed thrilled with the result. What else could
               explain her literally skipping off the stage at the end
               of her set?

               When Amos wasn't winking at Caton or beaming at
               Chamberlain or Evans, she was making eye contact
               with her fans and engaging them in dialogue.

               "Love you back," she said at one point to the
               crowd and blew them a kiss.

               Amos -- who made her entrance by walking up to
               the front of the stage to accept various bouquets of
               flowers -- opened the show with two new songs,
               notably the impressive Black-Dove (January) and
               Iieee, before trotting out older material like Horses
               and Doughnut Song. But it was the new work that
               really stood out.

               Spark, Northern Lad, and Cruel packed a major
               emotional punch even if there was a slight loss of
               momentum during slower numbers like Jackie's

               Amos is currently on a rare club tour, previewing
               material from Choirgirl in 12 North American cities
               before embarking on a larger-venue road trip this
               summer, which will likely bring her back to the
               Molson Amphitheatre in July.

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

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