Concert Reviews

Review: Tori Amos Brings Undimmed Intensity to Her First Show in Dallas in 8 Years

Tori Amos returned to an American concert stage for the first time in five years, and her first Dallas show in eight years, at the Majestic Theatre on Wednesday.
Tori Amos returned to an American concert stage for the first time in five years, and her first Dallas show in eight years, at the Majestic Theatre on Wednesday. Andrew Sherman
Steady as she goes, Tori Amos walked onto an American concert stage for the first time in five years Wednesday night.

Over the ensuing 95 minutes, the 58-year-old singer-songwriter demonstrated precisely how she’s endured through all of pop music’s endless contortions and upheavals: by affixing her sharp eye and keen ear to the fragility of the self, the sense of wonder in the world and the foolishness of those in power.

Wednesday’s turn at the Majestic Theatre also marked Amos’ first performance in Dallas proper in eight years — her last appearance in the 214 was at the Winspear Opera House in 2014 — as well as the opening night of the U.S. leg of her tour supporting her 16th and most recent studio album, last year’s Ocean to Ocean.
click to enlarge Tori Amos at The Majestic Theatre, April 27, 2022 - ANDREW SHERMAN
Tori Amos at The Majestic Theatre, April 27, 2022
Andrew Sherman
The audience — a wide swath of ages, genders and sexual persuasions — was more than ready for its queen, roaring as she first appeared and continuing the enthusiastic reception all the way through to the encore. “We love you, Tori!” regularly flew out of the darkness, filling the spaces between songs.

On record, Amos can conjure dense thickets of atmosphere, but for this run, she’s pared things back a bit, leaning only on bassist Jon Evans and drummer Ash Soan. (Well, somewhat pared things back: Amos was surrounded Wednesday by a quartet of keyboards — including her beloved Bosendorfer.)

Amos’ elastic, crystalline mezzo-soprano voice has lost none of its snap and power.

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Opening with “Juarez,” from her 1999 LP To Venus and Back, Amos was locked in early — the sinister chords writhing amid the stage lights as Amos tossed her red tresses and sang of violence against women in Mexico — and sustained that momentum throughout.

The setlist, surprisingly, took an egalitarian approach to the alt-rock goddess’ career, showcasing just four tracks from Ocean. Indeed, it served to underscore just how deep and enduring her catalog has turned out to be, balancing cherished favorites (“Bouncing Off Clouds,” “Cornflake Girl” and an utterly stunning solo rendition of “Silent All These Years”) with less well-known, but no less fervently adored, tracks like “Josephine” and “Take to the Sky,” which found Amos tweaking the lyrics in support of the Ukrainian people.
click to enlarge The intensity of Amos' voice was undiminished. - ANDREW SHERMAN
The intensity of Amos' voice was undiminished.
Andrew Sherman
Amos’ elastic, crystalline mezzo-soprano voice has lost none of its snap and power. She might have taken some songs down a step or two, but the intensity wasn’t the least bit diminished. Walking your own path, undeterred by all that’s swirling around you culturally, can be a daunting proposition, but Amos remains now as she was when she first walked onto the scene, a singular talent whose gift has only deepened with time.

Evans and Soan complemented her athletic playing — restlessly astride her piano bench, as ever — and the trio delivered significant punch, elongating songs with extended intros and capping tracks like “Clouds” and “Girl” with raucous climaxes.
click to enlarge Amos was active as ever at the keyboards. - ANDREW SHERMAN
Amos was active as ever at the keyboards.
Andrew Sherman
Amos wasn’t particularly chatty — “We haven’t talked in a while,” she purred after “Crucify” ended — but reflected the adoration of the near-capacity audience right back at them, making frequent grateful gestures in their direction.

That visceral connection, it seems, is as sustaining for Amos as it is for those who gather in dimly lit rooms to sing her music back to her, the intensity of feeling practically palpable in the air.
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Preston Jones is a Dallas-based writer who spent a decade as the pop music critic for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, where the Texas Associated Press Managing Editors honored his work three times, including a 2017 first place award for comment and criticism (Class AAAA). His writing has also appeared in the New York Observer, The Dallas Morning News, the Houston Chronicle, Central Track, Oklahoma Today and Slant Magazine.
Contact: Preston Jones