Billy Seagrave headed over to catch Tori Amos at Liverpool Philharmonic Hall Flexing her ‘musical muscle’ on an ecstatic return to the North West city, for an evening of eclectic and electric music from a truly unique artist’.
But first up it was Norwegian singer-songwriter SKAAR who has a penchant for crafting pop songs that are upbeat, serene, and strikingly vulnerable.
Growing up in the scenic little island that is Stord in Norway, Hilde Skaar, (pronounced Score). AKA SKAAR, began her music career after being scouted by management after she had posted covers on YouTube, she then bagged herself a deal with Warner Music. Since that initial moment, the artist has been building a steadily growing fanbase thanks to her lush vocals and emotive lyricism. If you listen to the early track “For Andrea” which is off her debut EP “On the Other side Of Waiting” or “Running High”, which is taken from the 2021 release “Waiting” there is a real sense of beauty found within her music. The vocals, lyricism, delicate instrumentation – every minute detail is gorgeous. Over the last few years, SKAAR has picked up award nominations, and soundtracked two Norwegian films, joining tonight’s host Tori Amos on this extensive tour, this follows her successful support of fellow pop hit purveyor, Sigrid, on a recent tour.
Tori Amos is now well into her “Ocean to Ocean” 2023 European tour, it’s the name of her sixteenth, and arguably the best in recent times, the studio album which was released in October 2021. Taking the stage exactly as advertised, Tori Amos received a warm standing ovation.
Taking her place between a set of keyboards and a grand piano, which she would masterfully alternate throughout the evening, that was unless she was playing both, with one had on one set of keys and the other reaching around to play the other. Backed by two excellent musicians, Bass player Jon Evans with whom Amos has consistently worked with for the last twenty-five years, and Drummer Ash Soan.
As is always the creative spirit of Tori Amos, the set list is ever-changing, along with some of her famous hits, new songs are performed, the odd cover version and a few surprises to boot. I think we can expect some of the same tonight.
The opening crescendo perfectly blends into the opening track, “God”, already the musicianship and Amos’s voice are perfect for this fantastic venue. Next up was the title track from her latest offering, “Ocean to Ocean”, straddled between the two sets of keys, this is a cathartic offering, a stunning piece that does receive a wonderful response from the crowd.
Communication with the audience is a must for Amos, after a quick acknowledgement of the twenty-strong crew that is assembled for this tour, Amos stated, “it’s been a while since we played Liverpool, we have some crew who hail from here”, arms aloft, “ we have some of the blue persuasion, and others that are of the red side of town”. Pointing to her red dress, “you can guess which one won out”. “Just so you know my husband is a fuckin, Gunner,” (Arsenal), which drew wonderful laughter from the crowd.
We are treated to a fifteen-song set that spanned from the earliest days right up to the present. One of those wonderful surprises was a heart rendering, and jaw-dropping version of “You’ll never walk alone”, so closely associated with the Kop singing Liverpool fans at Anfield. To finish the initial set, the song most people would associate with Tori Amos is “Cornflake girl”. By this stage, the crowd are firmly out of their seats and camera phones aloft.
The encore consisted of “Take to the Sky” with “I feel the Earth move”, interlude, and finally, “Precious things”.
Tori Amos once again showed what a talented and fabulous performer she has been for over thirty years, as the years have rolled on the repertoire of work has got stronger, and the crowd who stood, danced, sang and applauded a wonderful evening.
2/ Ocean to Ocean
5/ A Sorta Fairy tale blends
6/ Pandora’s Aquarium
7/ Scarlet’s Walk (Solo)
8/ You’ll Never Walk Alone
(Rodgers & Hammerstein cover) (Solo)
9/ Addition of Light Divided
10/ Little Amsterdam
11/ Beauty of Speed
12/ Spring Haze
13/ Cornflake Girl
14/ Take to the Sky (With “I Feel the Earth Move” interlude)
15/ Precious Things
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