Live music review: Tori Amos - A more than a capable match for 'these crazy times'

Tori Amos at Cork Opera House - 4/5

She’s an odd one, is Tori Amos, but saying that is akin to pointing out that The Simpsons are yellow. That’s just the way it is. On the opening night of her new tour she promised the audience no surprises. “Well, maybe some,” she added with a glint in her eye.

Regardless, the idea of a Tori Amos concert devoid of surprises seems inconceivable. With 14 albums under her belt anything could appear, and given this tour is in promotion of her 15th, Native Invader, the surprise was she only played one track from that record, ‘Reindeer King’.

Instead, the former Kinsale resident’s set leaned heavily on her 1990s output and featured singles ‘Hey Jupiter’, ‘A Sorta Fairytale’ and the title track of her debut ‘Little Earthquakes’, all discordant bass notes counterpointing her clarion call vocals.

Perched between electronic keyboard and grand piano, Amos seamlessly switched back and forth between each instrument, often playing both simultaneously in typically dextrous fashion. Sometimes it felt like ‘Beat the Intro’ as occasionally which song she was playing didn’t become apparent until the opening line. Often the songs would veer off down more baroque avenues.

Lacking the big rolling swells of piano on record, ‘Roosterspur Bridge’ was more reflective, with Amos conjuring up some gentle sampled flute. ‘Mother’s Revolution’ ditched the piano for some pretty out-there synths more befitting a sci-fi movie.

Against a projected backdrop of flames, the first third of the set featured passionate numbers like ‘Lust’ and ‘Blood Roses’.

The final third, played against an image of a glacier included the icy ‘Reindeer King’ and ‘Purple People’.

The middle third, branded ‘Fake Muse Network’, saw her visit some of her favourite songs by other artists and included U2’s ‘Running To A Standstill’ and Elton John’s ‘Someone Saved My Life Tonight’, which saw her ad lib wonderfully about having to redo the verse due to her glasses falling off.

“Thank you for coming in these crazy times,” she said. She’s more than a capable match for them.

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