We enjoyed the opener Broken Twin, from a carpet in the garden with a few drinks and this setting was pretty much perfect for enjoying the very mellow music. While Broken Twin left a good impression, there was a problem with the guitar sound being far too loud when compared to the vocals.
We took our seats after Broken Twin and were fortunate enough to have gotten seats all the way to the left, almost at the front, where we had a clear view of the stage. By now the sun had set behind the stage and suddenly the strong Western wind became extremely cold. A shared blanket helped a little and we noticed that we were not the only ones huddled together in a blanket, which I have to say was a very cozy, but unprecedented way, for me to witness a concert.
Aside from the cold wind, everything about the setting was beautiful. The castle was a perfect background for the stage, with Mother Nature providing a very relaxed atmosphere. Around 9pm, Tori Amos arrived in a car at the stage. She waved when she got out and disappeared into a small tent right next to the stage, and soon after she walked onto the stage and sat down between her huge piano and keyboard.
I remember seeing Tori Amos play in Copenhagen back around 2004 and being mightily impressed with her skill. One of the impressive things I remember from back then, was her ability to switch back and forth between piano and keyboard at key moments during certain songs, while she was singing. It made for a great effect to see her turning from one microphone to the other while holding a note and continuing the song with effortless skill. She only did this a couple of times during that concert but those moments lingered on for a decade with me.
It quickly became evident that she had developed this part of the show much further, as she started her concert sitting between the piano and keyboard, with a hand on each, as she opened the show with The Beauty of Speed. She was playing both keyboard and piano while singing in either microphone and throughout the song she was playing, so to say, with a hand behind her back. It was one of those wow-moments, where I thought "How much multitasking can one person do?". It was an impressive opener, which showed that the years have been kind to her ability to both play and sing. Her voice was both strong and affectionate and I was impressed by the sheer force of her voice.
In spite of this being an outdoor concert, there was an intimate feel to the show, right from the beginning. Next up was a potpourri of God, mixed with passages from Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells and Kate Bush's Running Up That Hill. It was an impressive display of musical ability and I got the feeling that this lady does not rest idly on her laurels but likes to challenge herself on every occasion to come up with something new an interesting. I have a feeling that if I was able to catch more of her live shows, then none of them would be identical. This was not the last time during the concert that several songs were mixed together to form something new and this element gave the show an air of spontaneity and surprise.
After this, she greeted the audience and thanked us for coming out. She mentioned that she had gotten a huge amount of requests and she would try to get through some of them. Throughout the show, I noticed outbursts from several audience members shouting "Thank you!" to the stage after a particular song, so I imagine that she kept her promise. I quickly got the impression that this was by no means an ordinary Tori Amos concert. In fact, the setlist consisted of a lot of songs I am less familiar with, and add to that, Tori's general lack of audience interaction between songs, and I was sometimes struggling to identify exactly which song she was playing. I would have wished that she had introduced each song with just a few words, as it would have made a world of difference.
After a few songs from The Choirgirl Hotel, Oysters was a beautiful moment that lingers on. Other highlights for me included Carry, Girl and Silent All These Years. Silent... was delivered with intense restrain and a great amount of emotion.
During Mother Revolution I ran to the bar to get a beer and while I was standing in line, suddenly the stage erupted in disco bass beats. I looked over my shoulder and saw people jump from their chairs and run to the stage. Arriving back at my chair was quite surreal, as the whole place had changed mood since I left, evolving from a relaxed, seated concert to a dance party. I recognized parts of the song and later found out that Tori Amos had played Donna Summer's I Feel Love, mixed with Abnormally Attracted To Sin. It certainly got the audience to their feet and Tori welcomed people to come closer to the stage to keep warm. She was clearly aware that people were freezing.
After this disco detour, the show was back on track with Forest of Glass, another highlight, performed with much vigor and feeling, and I was captivated again. By now, lots of people had gathered around the stage and we were no longer able to see anything from our chairs, so we entered the crowd for the rest of the concert. This was a different experience, but fitting for an outdoor concert. Tori performed a trilogy of Clouds before she left the stage and everyone shouted for her to come back.
Conflake Girl was the first encore and I was surprised at the amount of backing tape playing. Not only were the instruments played back from tape, but several vocal passages as well. This took me out of the intimate setting and made me feel like I was watching someone singing along to a song instead of actually performing a song.
Fortunately she got back to the solo performance soon after and with 1000 Oceans, the show ended on a high, in a most beautiful way.
While Tori Amos' performance was very impressive with no small amount of musical wizardry, she also showed that she is only human as she forgot the lyrics to one song at one point and uttered a loud "Fuck!" only to quickly catch up with the song again.
Overall this Tori Amos concert was a very special experience. The surroundings, the good sound, the performance and the intimate atmosphere all came together. On a personal note, I missed my own favorites and struggled with the cold wind. I know I will do what I can to catch Tori Amos live again, whenever I get the chance. She is truly one of a kind.
Written By Steen
Online: Thursday, June 25, 2015