Saturday, December 03, 2011

Thought I Was Over the Bridge Now

Okay, two months since my last post and I'm sick and tired of looking at that damned Melancholia photo. My infidelity with Tumblr has gotten severe, and I have to figure out a way soon to merge these two universes so I can get back to posting on the (semi-)regular. Be prepared -- what follows is meandering and indulgent, but it's something.

I'm posting tonight because I'm still buzzing from seeing my beloved Tori Amos at the Beacon Theater tonight with my awesome pal Jason. My sixth time in the 15 years I've been listening to her. And allowing for nostalgia making things even better in the rearview, I still think this might be the best show of hers I've seen. The gimmick on her current CD -- Night of Hunters -- is that they're all orchestral arrangement, so for the tour she's brought a four-piece string section to accompany her. This means all new lush arrangements for a lot of her old songs, and the reinvigoration of this classic material is as evident as it was back in 1998 when her first tour with a backing band led her to beef up the arrangements on songs from her first three albums.

Of the (approx.) 22 songs Tori performed tonight, I'd only previously seen her perform four, and it's not like she overloaded the set with new stuff either (though I should say that the Night of Hunters songs she did play were quite beautiful, as were songs from her more recent albums that I'm not as familiar with, like Maybe California and Toast). Every time I go to a Tori show, I have a little mental checklist of stuff I've never heard live that I'd love to hear. It's a wish list that's rarely fulfilled. But tonight, I actually got THREE: "Siren" (sparklingly arranged with the strings), "Putting the Damage On" (performed solo and just as aching as the Boys for Pele version), and "Gold Dust," which A) NEVER gets played, and B) somewhat curiously was performed solo despite the fact that the Scarlett's Walk version is loaded with strings, but C) WHATEVER, it was amazing.

(As for "Cloud on my Tongue," the above embedded performance, this was another first-timer for me, and I always seem to forget how emotional that song makes me. The bridge, from which I cribbed this post title, sneaks up on me.)

I really needed this show. The last time I saw Tori -- two years ago at Radio City -- was maybe my least favorite concert of hers. The setlist felt overly familiar, and her performance style had started to feel indulgent. But one great show can put the wind back in your sails, and that's exactly what Tori did tonight. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to crawl up inside my Spotify lists for a while.



ahhhh. i was there, too! wasn't it great.

notanillusion said...

Joe, I'm SO jealous. I've only seen Tori live once, but I swear to god I wanted to join a cult just based on the amazingingness of it. She is just divine.

Nancy said...

Oh, man, I made the call to see Over the Rhine instead of her when she's in Chicago this coming weekend. Now I am sad. Not TOO sad, because Over the Rhine is also so good, but when Tori's on, she's ON.

Tom M said...

Saw her on Friday night and, I agree, it was her best tour i've seen. Musically exciting and engaged. In perfect voice. And she seemed inspired by the energy of the string quartet. Plus she bounced around the stage like a little girl when she bowed to the was like Bjork took over her body!