Tori Amos – Sinful Attraction

Ladies and gentlemen, I’ve been suggested I should do something with my writing instead of just talking to myself. It has inspired me to find a music magazine to write reviews for. It’s the perfect combination: I love music, I can offer a whole different perspective and after seeing over 200 shows, I think I can say what I’m talking about. I will probably need a portfolio of sorts, however, so consider yourselves graced with the construction of it. It will be tagged “The Local Perspective” on my website. Here goes.

 

Tori Amos – Sinful Attraction tour

 

Music I enjoy and music I respect are divided into two respective groups. They overlap, but there is plenty of enjoyable stuff that I consider qualitative rubbish, and vice versa. In the second case, this often involves artists that, despite their efforts to make intelligent and insightful music, I simply don’t listen to. I am prepared to courageously take the blame for this, and say that these tunes are simply too clever for me. Bands like Muse, The Mars Volta, and others just fail to make a connection, and I will soon switch back to my Moby records.

Among them sits Tori Amos, a singer-songwriter with mad skillz on the piano. She has long ago proved her worthiness as an artist by bringing delicate melodies that graze the charts without selling out, but more importantly, through her collaboration projects with Tool’s Maynard James Keenan. It’s that easy: if Maynard likes you, I will love you to the point where you merely need to ask if you want your salad tossed. Mwah.

However, try as I might, I never truly managed to enjoy listening to her. Even her duet with Maynard (“Muhammed My Friend” for the illiterate) couldn’t inspire me. So when asked if I could work for her gig in Antwerp’s Lotto Arena, I had mixed feelings. I would gladly provide my services for meaningful music, but something told me I would have to try hard to sit out the entire show.

The work itself was laughable. There were 12 of us to install two trailers worth equipment, and since we were a forklift driver short I didn’t even have to lift a finger. We were done by noon, including the midsection chairs and crash barriers.

 

Tori Amos is a redhead, which gives her a head start (I’m so funny). On top of that, she is blessed with a natural grace and jaw-dropping singing voice. Combined with her natural talent, you’ve got the perfect cocktail for a successful gig. It wasn’t made easy for her, however. Sure, the set was gorgeously sober and the music low in volume and crystal clear, which by the way is the way to do it no matter what your big-bucks promoter might tell you, but dear lord, her dress.
There is an acute radio silence between the artists and their clothing designer, and it shows time and time again. I’ve seen Anette Olzon (Nightwish) jump around in a tube top that she had to fix over her mammilla’s every two luscious bounces, and An Pierlé (White Velvet) take off those god damn elbow gloves and throw them aside after they kept coming off. In the case of poor Tori, they fit her with a stylish red dress that accentuated her hair rather nicely. The skirt, long in the back and short in front, might have been useful for prancing around on the catwalk or at a reception, talking about small dogs and clinging to your alienated husband’s side to make him look good, but not for sitting wide-legged on a piano stool, fixing that motherfucking loosely hanging flap under your high heels.
Fucking duh.

She can’t be blamed for her sitting posture, often she would have to spin 180 degrees to switch keyboards. Since it’s unprofessional to sit with your back towards the audience, well… It meant she had to keep her knees apart wide enough to welcome a hockey team and give the whole arena a wide-angle view of her crotch. “If you can’t hide it, show it,” her designer must have thought, because the sight was countered by the glare of the spotlights bouncing off the shiny silver pantyhose she was wearing. The result was an unsightly view of pornographic grace.

But let’s talk music. Not one of my colleagues was anywhere near impressed, but they are a horde of minimum wage workers who don’t seem to understand the subtle, finer things in live, like a nice sunset, or a book with a quantity of wine less than a bottle. Piano music is one of those things; you have to be in the right mindset, it takes effort. I did enjoy it most of the time, but to my shame, I am not very familiar with her music and had a hard time keeping up attention. The piano itself seemed heavily compressed (by which I mean the tones, obviously), because it was difficult to separate nuance from melody. Losing yourself in the music was a challenge, I could never really get into it. I was about to get up and raid the catering, when she suddenly started a cover of “Love Song” by The Cure. If it is possible to make it sound any more bittersweet than Robert Smith can, she nailed it. It’s a song with great personal value to me, and sitting out the concert was a breeze from then on.

The band, if you can call it that, consisted of two extremely talented musicians with each their own little riser in the darkness near the far corners of the stage. I found myself wishing the drummer would take it a little easier from time to time, but what do I know.
I have always been intensely jealous of musicians with enough talent and willpower to make it as far as they have. You may not get rich as quickly as the frontman/woman, but the audience has no expectations about you regarding style or message, so you aren’t stuck in a particular genre like they are. They do their thing, enjoy what they do, and accomplish things mediocre musicians can only dream of. Kudos.

All in all I can’t say I would have paid for tickets, though perhaps I would have given them to someone I know would enjoy it more.

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