Five Thoughts on Tori Amos Friday Night

1. Just as Facebook makes it easy to drive yourself crazy by checking on your ex's status all day, checking websites like to see what got played on the show after yours by an artist with a reputation for doing a different set each night can plunge you deep in to a well of self-loathing. Apparently my friend who saw Tori Amos at Beacon Theatre the night after I did saw her do "Hey Jupiter" and "Horses," two of my favorites, and a cover of U2's "Running To Stand Still," my third favorite U2 song. I didn't even know that was a song she covered. Sigh.

2. But hey, I got both "Cloud On My Tongue" and "Putting The Damage On," so I can't complain that I didn't get a nice dose of "I forgot how many great songs were on that album" deep cuts. In particular, the continually unraveling melody of "Tongue" is always worth revisiting.  Also, my cover was "Landslide" by Fleetwood Mac. No matter how many people cover that song or whatever gross visuals "South Park" inflicts on it, that song will always push the wistful button hard.

3. Amos has been touring with the string-quartet that backs her on the new, classical music-informed story cycle Night Of Hunters. These gentlemen made certain that Hunters songs like "Shattering Sea" retained their dramatic crescendos onstage, and also helped catalog numbers like "Baker Baker" soar just a little bit higher than normal. The quartet were able to tone it down as well, adding some understated, strut to slow-burners like "Cruel." She also wisely ditched those guys for a spell; "Jackie's Strength" doesn't need any extra bells and whistles.

4. Not all Tori Amos songs and albums are created equal. She's written some of the most affecting songs of the past 25 years. She's also made some albums that have gotten two bogged down in overly fussy production and Byzantine narratives. Some of those albums got represented on Friday, but at least Amos and company were able to render them in a fashion that made them pleasantly forgettable rather than actively oft-putting.

5. I lost count how many times Amos bowed to the crowd, waved and, blew kisses.  She also called us the best audience anyone could ever have at least three times. (The audience has the Amos tattoos to prove it.)  Always a class act, that one.

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