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Live review: Tori Amos @ Royal Albert Hall in London

Tori Amos live in London photos by Poyan Chan

Tori Amos, undoubtedly one of the most influential artists in recent decades, showed no sign of stopping, her performance in Royal Albert Hall last week was exceptional as it always has been ever since her worldwide success in 90s.

Amos stated in the very start of the show, she had a long list of requests, so she would try to play as much as she could. This is exactly what the show was about, Amos wasted no time, she did not talk much throughout the night, just played her greatest hits one after another, she certainly knew what her fans wanted. Starting from “Parasol”, Amos brought us back in time and she simply showed us she still got it. Her exquisite, wide ranged vocal and splendid piano playing already speak for herself, reminding us what it should really take to a real professional singer. Her singing technique was so dynamic, with constant pitch changes, creak and growl, full of emotion, often quite haunting. Blending together beautifully with the piano sound, her songs certainly have the power to give listeners a chill. It is truly impressive that Amos sounds exactly the same as how she was in “Little Earthquakes” 20 years ago. If there has to be any difference it would be her gracefulness added through the age.

Following up with songs such as “Pancake”, “Crucify” and “iieee”, all showcased Amos’s outstanding song writing skills. By referencing to religious and fictional characters, fairytales, artworks as metaphors, the context of her music touches huge range of topics such as relationship conflicts, death, sin, fear and identity struggle. For sure Amos is one artist who takes song writing very seriously, and she is not afraid to expose her vulnerability, personal experience and darkest thoughts in her work. Her talent and courage are simply undeniable. Amos also sang the playful “Mr. Zebra”, lighter materials such as “Sugar”, beautiful ballad “Winter” to newer songs like “Taxi Ride”, “A Sorta Fairytale”, as well as crowd pleasing hit “Cornflake Girl”. Her cover of Nirvana’s “Smell like Teen Spirit” was one of the highlights of the show, she handled all emotions: rage, desperation and frustration brilliantly in a very feminine style, genuinely created a version of her own, which was unexpectedly sensational. I personally think Amos did the best cover of the song. The show ended with “Hey Jupiter”.

There might not be many surprises throughout the night, but a glimpse of the talented artist, and perhaps her iconic piano playing, with one piano each side, already makes the night priceless. Tori Amos truly is an extraordinary woman, with musical legacy few female artists have ever achieved, hitting territories no other has ever explored. As part of the tour for her fourteenth album “Unrepentant Geraldines” only two songs “Wide Way” and “Invisible Boy” were introduced in the night, it is exciting to see how the rest of the album sounds. The album is out now on Mercury Classics.

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Poyan Chan
I am Poyan Chan, a visual effects artist from Hong Kong, now based in London. I believe art appears in any forms, it is in paintings, writings, films, photos, and certainly in music. I love the idea that art is the creation inspired by life experience, and yet it transforms itself to surprise and inspire the others, essentially become part of our life. That is why I engage in the creative industry, I have participated in the post-production of numerous commercial films and adverts, I also got involved in several art exhibitions in the past. Outside of work I sketch, I take photos, hug my guitars, and occasionally I write. My music choice ranges from indie, alternative rock, grunge, folk to recently jazz and soul. To me nothing is underrated. We just have to get the unheard heard. That is what we are here for. Let the inspiration begin.