Y Tori Can Groove

Heard live, as Amos toured for the first time ever with a full band (Chamberlain on drums, guitarist Steve Caton, who's recorded with her since the Y Kant Tori days, and bassist Jon Evans), less-than-stellar album cuts like "Iieee" and "Cruel" were thrashed up into show stealers, with Amos working herself into vocal frenzies over the multipart arrangements her piano had only hinted at. Older numbers like "God" and "The Waitress," which she used to perform with a drum machine, got thorough revisions that made them considerably less cutesy. This was a minitour of clubs meant, I hope, to prepare Amos for a round of arena dates; with a band, she's sonically ready to accept the challenge of playing such venues and I'm anxious to hear what she'll make of it, because there are few others with the capacity to make bludgeoning atmospherics move. At 34, Tori Amos still thanks the faeries. But even a pavement pounder would have a hard time denying the depth of her frivolity.

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