Ocean to Ocean: Tori Amos at the Royal Albert Hall
Last night’s concert at the Royal Albert Hall began with a heartwarming performance by the acclaimed Norwegian singer Skaar, who charmed the audience with her original material, accompanied by a pianist. Brimming with charisma, she conveyed her songs with delicate emotion and a wealth of expressivity. Headliner Tori Amos’s arrival was met with a rousing standing ovation. Dressed in a silky, dramatically flowing ensemble and striking stilettos, she graced the stage with her iconic stride.
The renowned American singer-songwriter and virtuosic pianist was born in North Carolina, grew up in Maryland, and relocated to Los Angeles in 1983 to further her music career; since the late 1990s, she has lived in Devon, UK. She is now six shows into her Ocean to Ocean 2023 European tour, showcasing her 16th studio album (released in October 2021), which delves into personal challenges, the pandemic and grief. The run of performances will eventually take Amos to mainland Europe, Scandinavia and finally to Switzerland for the closing show in Zurich at the end of April.
Here, she was backed by bassist Jon Evans and drummer Ash Soan, as she sat between two keyboards on one side and a grand piano on the other. Throughout the evening she switched between the three, or skilfully played two simultaneously, displaying distinct finesse and remarkable dexterity on each – a clear reflection of her classical training. The set began with her song, God (1994), a mesmerising opening marked by sensual rhythm. Following it, Ocean to Ocean from her newest album had an epic and harmonically intricate nature as Amos seamlessly transitioned between instruments with incredible enthusiasm. The iconic Crucify (1992) came next, electrifying her devotees. The artist’s solo piano performance highlighted her exceptional talent, offering a tranquil moment where she could truly stand out. A deeply moving rendition of Losing My Religion, blended with Silent All These Years, caught the audience off-guard, leading them on a poignant emotional journey. Naturally, she couldn’t let her fans down and performed her most renowned hit, Cornflake Girl, which debuted in 1994.
Amos introduced Evans as a collaborator for over two decades, and the connection between the two was unmistakable. Regrettably, this chemistry was less apparent with Soan, who was positioned slightly further back and seemed somewhat disconnected from his colleagues. The backdrop visuals aligned with the singer’s affinity for nature, featuring aquatic and verdant patterns; although somewhat traditional, their simplicity allowed the audience to focus entirely on the music.
All in all, Tori Amos is a truly remarkable vocalist and musician, delivering deeply atmospheric, introspective and resonant songs that radiate individuality and authenticity. With a career spanning over three decades, this is an artist who persistently grows musically, and unapologetically follows her distinct, inimitable path. This evening proved to be a treat for both die-hard fans and those newly introduced to her work.
Photos: Ambra Vernuccio
For further information and future events visit Ocean to Ocean: Tori Amos’s website here.
Watch the video for the single God here: