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Tuesday, 05 August 2014 06:51

Concert review and set list: Tori Amos (with Trevor Moss and Hannah-Lou) brings more than a touch of class to Peabody Opera House on Friday, August 1

Concert review and set list: Tori Amos (with Trevor Moss and Hannah-Lou) brings more than a touch of class to Peabody Opera House on Friday, August 1
Written by Matt Champion

Prior to Tori Amos taking the Peabody stage, husband and wife folk singers Trevor Moss and Hannah-Lou turned in a vocally-impressive acoustic set. Trevor and Hannah Lou aren't your typical male/female folk-singing duo. What caught my attention right away was Trevor Moss' full voice high tenor/alto singing. There wasn’t a bit of falsetto in a single note that came out of his mouth, and he was often singing melodies above Hannah Lou's rich alto.

Their vocal ranges overlap quite a bit, and with the way their parts intertwined it was difficult at times to tell who was singing which part. In the end it didn’t matter, because everything sounded beautiful. It seemed fitting that they shared a single microphone to deliver their vocals with the way their voices meshed with each other.

I happened to be running late and missed most of their set, but the four songs I managed to catch made me wish I hadn’t stopped for dinner before heading out to the Peabody. Catching their entire set would have made a good evening even better.

After a short intermission, Tori Amos came out from stage right decked out in a black pants suit covered in a bright pink robe and took a quick bow. The standing ovation she received upon hitting the stage finally settled down after she began to play the first few notes of “Parasol.”

Although this tour was billed as the “Unrepentant Geraldines” tour, Tori played a wide variety of songs from her four decades in music. She made stops at all points of her career, from her debut album “Little Earthquakes” to the two songs she performed from her newest work, “Unrepentant Geraldines.”

Tori Amos is a versatile musician, playing with the dynamics of her tunes like a kitten with a ball of string. Whether she was playing heavy-handed chord passages or singing barely above a whisper, every moment of every song had a purpose and was delivered with the kind of flair that would be expected in a Tchaikovsky or Mozart concerto.

Her multi-instrumental skills were also impressive. She spent most of the evening straddling her bench and rocking back and forth in order to play her grand piano with her left hand and what appeared to be a Nord Electro digital piano with her right, often while transitioning between the two microphones stationed at each instrument.

About an hour into the set, her road crew removed the Nord and replaced it with an upright electric organ, which made my night. I could listen to the sound of an organ being played through a Leslie speaker all night, and the only person I’ve ever heard make better use of a rotating speaker to evoke an emotional response using that instrument was Quintron.

Tori looked very comfortable with herself on the stage and played like she was just there to have fun with her friends than play a serious set. Although her entire set was fantastic, she appeared to have a lot more fun playing songs that she had either rarely played or had not played yet on her tour. Some of those songs got a huge reaction from the crowd, such as her slow and tawdry “Lizard Lounge” cover of Barry Manilow’s “Copacabana” and when she broke into “Happy Phantom” from “Little Earthquakes,” a song which I was informed that she had never played in St. Louis before this show.

There were only two very minor complaints that I had about the show. The first was that the sound technician had a lot of reverb in her vocals, which was thankfully greatly reduced or removed entirely after the second song. The Peabody is an impressive room and doesn’t really need any assistance with artificial reverb like a standard nightclub would. The second, which is really a personal preference of mine, is that she played with a backing track on “Cornflake Girl” and “Never Seen Blue.” Given that the rest of the performance was solo piano, both tracks stood out as odd to me with the bass, drums and backing vocals present. There was nothing technically wrong with that, and both songs sounded great, but I think a reworked solo piano version of both tracks would have been just as good as the ‘album version’ that we received.

This was my first Tori Amos show, as I was never really a huge fan of her work when I was younger. I chose to cover this show because I have since matured as a music fan and had heard that she was an impressive musician. I can say that after this set, if I could go back in time and see her during her initial break into the mainstream musical channels of the day, I would definitely go tell my past self to check her out.

Tori has always been the kind of musician to interact with her fans, so if you missed her set or would like to relive it if you were there, she has released a recording of the show.

Set list:

Doughnut Song
Baker Baker
Curtain Call
Putting the Damage On
Cool on Your Island
Happy Phantom
Digital Ghost
Wild Way
Scarlet’s Walk
Springtime of His Voodoo
Cornflake Girl

Never Seen Blue
Sixteen Shades of Blue
Tear in Your Hand

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