In characters

Tori Amos, Orpheum Theatre, October 19, 2007
By MATT ASHARE  |  October 23, 2007
TORI AMOS: Getting into characters.

Slideshow: Tori Amos at the Orpheum Theatre, October 19, 2007
On Friday, the second of a two-night stand at the Orpheum, Tori Amos showed up as “Clyde,” one of the four characters (five if you count Tori herself) she assumes in her most recent album, the sprawling, 23-track American Doll Posse (Epic). She may not have trotted out all of these alter egos: street-toughened dark-haired “Pip,” earthier hippie chick “Clyde,” glittery glamor queen “Isabel,” and blonde beauty “Santa,” who’s pictured demurely with a cigarette in the American Doll Posse CD booklet and with a cocktail on Amos’s Web site. But they were there in spirit, and so were any number of other alter egos she’s accumulated while playing dress-up over the better part of the past decade.

In a brown wig and an elegant yet understated purple and black gown, she opened the “Clyde” portion of the set with the insistent piano arpeggios and dark guitar overtones of the American Doll Posse tune “Bouncing Off Clouds” before moving on to one of her better-known cult hits, the 1992 single “Little Earthquakes.” It’s clear there’s plenty of the old Tori in the new “Clyde,” who has just as much contempt for “elevator music” as Amos does. “Clyde” stuck around for the first six songs; these included an arresting “Girl Disappearing,” which deals in issues of, yes, identity crisis, and the soaring “Beauty of Speed,” with its allusions to inner transformations.

After a quick instrumental break that left guitarist Dan Phelps, bassist Jon Evans, and drummer Matt Chamberlain to their own devices, Tori returned as, well, Tori, her fire-red hair topping off a glittering silver gown and heels. Rather than stick to the American Doll Posse script, with its four parts for the four characters, she surveyed her catalogue, from Little Earthquake’s “Space Dog” to the popular “Cornflake Girl” from Under the Pink, and “Spring Haze” from To Venus and Back. She got a big reaction from the “MILF” chant that dominates the new “Big Wheel” and then loosened up enough to play a little country-tinged improv filled with positive messages for her fans. And, once you strip away the costumes, that’s the real point of a Tori Amos show.

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  Topics: Live Reviews , Tori Amos, Tori Amos, Tori Amos,  More more >
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