Singer Amos 4 Letters
Singer Amos 4 Letters – Tori Amos returned to an American concert stage for the first time in five years and her first show in Dallas in eight years at the Majestic Theater on Wednesday. Andrew Sherman
Persistent as she goes, Tori Amos took to an American concert stage for the first time in five years on Wednesday night.
Singer Amos 4 Letters
In the ensuing 95 minutes, the 58-year-old singer-songwriter demonstrated exactly how she’s weathered all of pop music’s endless contortions and upheavals: by focusing her keen eye and ear on the fragility of self, the sense of wonder in the world and the stupidity of the powerful.
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Wednesday’s rotation at the Majestic Theater also marked Amos’ first appearance in Dallas in eight years – her last appearance at 214 was at the Winspear Opera House in 2014 – as well as the opening night of the US leg of her tour, which supported her 16th and latest studio album , Ocean to Ocean from last year.
The audience – a wide range of ages, genders and sexual orientations – was more than ready for its queen, who roared at her first appearance and continued the enthusiastic reception until the encore. “We love you, Tori!” would regularly fly out of the darkness, filling in the gaps between songs.
On record, Amos can conjure up a dense thicket of atmosphere, but for this run she’s scaled things back, relying only on bassist Jon Evans and drummer Ash Soan. (Well, taking it a step further: Amos was surrounded by a keyboard quartet on Wednesday — including her beloved Bösendorfer.)
Amos’ resilient, crystalline mezzo-soprano voice has lost none of its punch and power. tweeting this opening with “Juarez” off their 1999 LP To Venus and Back, Amos was locked in early – the sinister chords that squirm in the stage lights as Amos tossed her red locks and sang about violence against women in Mexico – and held this one swing straight through.
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The setlist surprisingly took an egalitarian approach to the alternative rock goddess’ career, featuring just four tracks from Ocean. Indeed, it helped underscore just how extensive and enduring their catalog has become, by cherishing cherished favorites (“Bouncing Off Clouds”, “Cornflake Girl” and an absolutely stunning solo version of “Silent All These Years”). balanced with less well-known but no less revered tracks like “Josephine” and “Take to the Sky” where Amos tweaked the lyrics in support of the Ukrainian people.
Amos’ resilient, crystalline mezzo-soprano voice has lost none of its punch and power. She may have taken some songs back a step or two, but the intensity wasn’t diminished in the slightest. Carving your own path, undeterred by all that is culturally swirling around you, can be a daunting endeavor, but Amos now remains as she was when she first burst onto the scene, a unique talent whose gift is growing has only deepened over time.
Evans and Soan complemented their athletic playing – as always restlessly astride their piano bench – and the trio delivered substantial punch, lengthening songs with sprawling intros and capping tracks like “Clouds” and “Girl” with raucous climaxes.
Amos wasn’t particularly talkative — “We haven’t talked in a while,” she purred after “Crucify” wrapped — but reflected the admiration of the near-busy audience straight back to her, frequently making gestures of gratitude in her direction.
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This visceral connection seems to be as sustained for Amos as it is for those who gather in dimly lit rooms to sing her music back to her, the intensity of the feeling in the air practically palpable.
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Preston Jones is a Dallas-based writer who spent a decade as a pop music critic for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, where the Texas Associated Press Managing Editors recognized his work three times, including first place for comment and criticism (Class AAAA) in 2017. His writing has also appeared in the New York Observer, The Dallas Morning News, Houston Chronicle, Central Track, Oklahoma Today, and Slant Magazine.
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Amos Lee had been through a chaotic few years when he began work on his month-old album Dreamland in 2019.
“Personally, I’ve been in a very reflective place and trying to heal some things,” he said during a recent phone call to discuss his show at Fox Theater on Saturday June 4th.
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The album was Lee’s deep dive into his own mental health issues – he’s dealt with anxiety for 20 years – and the way he’s dealing with it. But he had no idea how relevant and somehow universal “Dreamland” would become thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“When we talk about that past time, there are so many different passageways and tunnels,” he said. “We start together in this foyer and all have different experiences.”
Although “Dreamland” was finished before the pandemic, the album’s release was delayed when the country shut down in 2020 and slowly revived later that year and into 2021.
During that time, mental health, from depression and anxiety to feelings of isolation and fear of what the pandemic would bring, went from an issue we whispered about behind closed doors to a public conversation. Credit gymnast Simone Biles in large part after going public with her own mental health issues and withdrawing from most of last summer’s Olympics.
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Her story opened the floodgates of other celebrities speaking publicly about their issues, followed by nationwide public service campaigns aimed at destigmatizing mental health issues and urging people to seek help from professionals and those around them.
“Dreamland” is Lee’s first album in four years and arguably shows him at his most vulnerable without becoming self-indulgent. Singing about hope and healing, he urges the listeners and himself: “Worry no more/There’s an open door for you” and “Behold the light” through the darkness: “Even when I feel I’m falling/And it There’s no nobody to catch / Feeling weightless even though I’ve done my best / Even when I know I’m crying, I smile to the side / Because I know everything will be alright.
In the confessional “Into the Clearing” Lee finds redemption through absolution while in the title “Dreamland” even when you think everyone is fine and you’re the one who’s broken there is hope in dreaming.
Lee, who recorded his breakthrough album Mission Bell in 2011, said his self-reflection came right around the time he was turning 40; he turns 45 later this month.
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And though the album was pre-pandemic and didn’t reflect anything he’d experienced during the crisis, he realized that “Dreamland” appealed to a wider audience of people who were grappling with some of the issues that Lee, for the most part, lived with had of his adult life.
“I think when you’re younger you get over a lot of your pain and you don’t necessarily want to think about it. I also think there’s value in people who just pull through and move forward and don’t think too much,” he said. “But I’m a writer and that means I’m a bit lenient about my experiences in general. My job is to grapple with these things and try to somehow assimilate these ideas and think about how you can communicate this to other people so that they can experience the same.”
Lee said the best therapy for him has been getting back on stage. He did a few shows in 2021 but didn’t return to full touring until April.
“Live music is so important. This connects us. It’s a human experience that we’ve lacked in recent years,” he said. “We are human and we need to connect with our humanity. … I think … we need to feel our humanity together again. We need to get off our echo chambers, off our screens… and come together in a place where I can tell you exactly what I want you to hear.”
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He was joking, of course; Music is open to interpretation by the listener, and often, Lee said, to your interpretation