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Tori Amos – The Met – Philadelphia (A Concert Review)

Updated: Jun 4, 2022

Tori Amos – The Met – Philadelphia, PA – May 9, 2022

Surprisingly, even though Tori Amos has hit the 30th anniversary of her breakthrough solo debut Little Earthquakes, she only pulled two songs from that classic album onto her recent show setlist at the Met in Philly – and neither of them would be the most obvious choices. Particularly a surprise was the album title track, which came early in the set. Then the show was closed out with an intense version of “Precious Things” which is a fan favorite if never one of the four official singles from the album.

In fact, Amos is confident enough with her body of work – and with her audiences – that she barely even touched on the songs which would be considered her “hit” singles. Really, there was just a jaunty take of “Cornflake Girl” right before the encore. Instead she was more than content to take the crowd through an intriguing mix of fan favorites, album tracks, B-sides and obscurities.

“We’ve got some surprises in store for tonight,” she explained as she led into “Little Earthquakes” early on. “We’ve been trying to welcome songs every day, but they are just fucking difficult.”

It is also the first time in quite a while that Amos has traveled with a combo – drummer Ash Soan and bassist Jon Evans, as well as Amos straddling two keyboards (a grand piano and an electric piano) situated in center stage – giving the proceedings a fuller, more up-tempo vibe than her common solo piano tours. (The last time I can remember seeing her perform live with a complete band must have been in either 1994 or 1996.)

Amos was obviously moved by the state of the world today, touching on songs that vaguely parallel the war in Ukraine (“Russia” and “Take to the Sky”) and the tenuous state of women in the modern world (the show closing “Precious Things” and set opener “Juarez”). Then again, she was also open to the escape of “Sweet Sangria” and the buoyant tunefulness of “Bouncing off the Clouds.”

The one cover version of the night (assuming you don’t count the little snatch of Carole King’s “I Feel the Earth Move” which was woven into Amos’ original “Take to the Sky”) was a heartrending solo piano cover of Bruce Springsteen’s hit “The Streets of Philadelphia.” Amos claimed she was not planning to play it, but during sound check the song willed itself into the playlist and could not be denied. It’s not the first time in her career that she has played that song here (after all, it is about the city she was in…), however, it’s always a welcome treat to hear her interpretation of the music of a man that she referred to on stage as “one of our great songwriters.”

This was the first time that Amos has played in Philadelphia since the death of her mother, who lived in nearby Maryland and had often attended shows in town. (In fact in 1992, the first time I saw Amos in concert on the Little Earthquakes tour, I was seated right next to her mother.)

The show was obviously a very heartfelt homecoming for Amos. And Philly obviously missed her too.

Jay S. Jacobs

Copyright ©2022 All rights reserved. Posted: May 10, 2022.

Photos by Chris Sanchez-Paralta and Jay S. Jacobs © 2022.

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