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Tori Amos filled ACL Live with a mixture of angelic and haunting sounds

Sierra Juarez
Tori Amos with special guests Scars on 45 performs during her Native Invader Tour at ACL-Live at The Moody Theater on November 17, 2017 - Photo Credit: Scott Moore/for American-Statesman

Tori Amos: A woman who can hold a crowded room of people transfixed as she takes her time reapplying berry-red lipstick. But that’s not the only time she put the crowd in a dream-like state. The American pianist and singer commanded the stage for 90 minutes with a satisfying mixture of angelic and haunting sounds. 

The ACL Live venue was made for the likes of Amos. Her whispery growls reverberated through the room, enveloping the crowd. A classically trained musician, Amos reconstructed the traditional, church-choir organ sounds into something devilishly pleasant. (Let’s just say, I’d attend whatever church had an organ player like that.) The ogran notes flourished in the amphitheater. 

She was positioned in the center of the ACL Live stage between an organ and a piano. She flipped from one to the other in the middle of a song, mirroring her shift in vocals from a low, raspy octave to a high, ethereal pitch. Hunched over the piano, she delivered a hypnotic blend of sounds that brought the sitting audience to its feet several times throughout the set.  

Between her set list, she gifted concertgoers with playful banter, lipstick reapplication, a dirty joke and a wink or two.

“I was going to sing something sweet, but I don’t know if I’m feeling very sweet right now,” Amos said before launching into a cover of the Eagle’s ‘Desperado.’ 

Behind her were an odd collective of visuals (like a forest fire and a graphic labeled “Fake Muse Network” a not so subtle jab at President Trump’s fake news claims) and an occasional waft of rising smoke. 

During her encore, fans poured out of their seats and toward the stage. The final songs included a sinister rendition of Depeche Mode’s “Personal Jesus.” After a barely noticeable mistake in her song “Precious Things,” she fired off a few expletives and restarted, leaving the crowd more excited than the first go around. In an abrupt change in the mood, glow sticks appeared in some crowd members’ hands during her final song “Raspberry Swirl,” which stood out as more techno and dance-worthy than the rest of her set list. 

Her unique sound and classical command of the instruments left the audience wishing for more from the pixie-like artist. 

?Set list: 

Cruel

God

Little Amsterdam 

Crazy

Playboy Mommy 

Spark 

Desperado 

A Case of You 

Suede

Sweet Sangria

Strange 

Lady in Blue

Personal Jesus

Precious Things

Raspberry Swirl