Tori Amos dazzles Verizon Hall with a career-spanning set

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Tori Amos
Tori Amos | Photo by Chris Sikich | countfeed.tumblr.com

On Sunday night, Tori Amos took Broad Street by storm. At the nearly sold-out Verizon Hall, Amos, armed only with her Bosendorfer piano, a keyboard and an organ, unlocked her musical treasure-trove for a stirring 20-song set.

Theoretically touring behind her 2014 album Unrepentant Geraldines (she only played two tracks from the album), Amos dug deep into her catalog and her diverse musical interests. For an artist with 14 albums, Amos has played over 200 unique songs on her world tour thus far. Opening with tour staple “Parasol” promised nothing for the night, as she only played three other songs that she did at her previous show in Toronto (“Bliss,” “Take to the Sky” and “Cornflake Girl”). For the Amos diehards, it must have been exciting to hear B-sides galore (four total), including the yearning “Purple People” and a fierce “Take to the Sky” topped with the bridge from “Datura.”

And though the crowd lit up with applause at the beginning and end of each song, there was a mad dash to the front for her signature “Cornflake Girl.” Other highlights, among many, included a blistering “Crucify,” a rousing rendition of her underrated “Ophelia” and the chilling organ/piano combo of “The Beekeeper.” Amos also wove themes throughout the night, most notably the reference of snow (maybe in response to the insane Philadelphia winter, as members of her family generally attend the Philly shows) in songs like “Here. In My Head,” “Strange,” “Cooling,” “Weatherman” and “Purple People.” Amos also pulled out covers in her Lizard Lounge section. She pieced together a section of The Rolling Stones’ “Wild Horses” with her own “Crazy” followed by a gorgeous version of Billy Joel’s “She’s Always a Woman.”

Amos played against a stark backdrop of nine brick panels that were often a canvas for striking light displays. Straddling a middle ground between piano and keyboard or organ, Amos is a modern-day piano all-star. Her voice was top-notch and even if she did slip up lyrically a few times, occasionally pausing or uttering “fuck” if that happened, her mastery of her catalog is astounding to witness.

Seemingly knowing her time crunch due to the 10:30 curfew, Amos spoke very little. She walked onstage and offstage with bows and waves of wholehearted gratitude. And though she meant to close with the song “Carry,” the lack of remaining minutes left the crowd with a beautiful cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “Streets of Philadelphia.” With Springsteen’s grizzled vocals replaced by Amos’ sweetness, it was a lovely way to send an adoring audience into a Sunday night.

The promising folk duo of Trevor Moss & Hannah-Lou opened.

Setlist
Parasol
Here. In My Head
Crucify
Toast
Ophelia
Strange
Bliss
Cooling
Weatherman
Crazy (with a snippet of the Rolling Stones’ Wild Horses)
She’s Always a Woman (Billy Joel cover)
Purple People
Spring Haze
Take to the Sky/Datura
Not the Red Baron
The Beekeeper
Cornflake Girl

Encore:
Silent All These Years
16 Shades of Blue
Streets of Philadelphia (Bruce Springsteen cover)

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