Tori Amos: a Celebration of a Career in Paris

Artwork Tori Amos Paradigme Mode

It was an extra­or­di­nary priv­i­lege to attend a rare con­cert by the leg­endary Tori Amos, held on Thurs­day night at the icon­ic L’Olympia venue in Paris. The atmos­phere crack­led with antic­i­pa­tion, as fans eager­ly await­ed a per­for­mance that promised to cel­e­brate the illus­tri­ous career of this enig­mat­ic and influ­en­tial artist.

The multi-talented artist

The pal­pa­ble excite­ment in the air begs the ques­tion: why is Tori Amos such a sig­nif­i­cant fig­ure in music? Let’s delve into her long, influ­en­tial career and dis­cov­er why her music is worth explor­ing.

Tori Amos is a sem­i­nal musi­cal icon whose impact on the alter­na­tive rock scene of the 90s is unpar­al­leled. A piano prodi­gy, Amos began hon­ing her craft as a young child, exhibit­ing a deep-seat­ed pas­sion for music.

Tori Amos rehears­ing just before her con­cert in Paris, 2023

At the ten­der age of five, Amos made his­to­ry as the youngest stu­dent ever admit­ted to the pres­ti­gious Peabody Insti­tute’s prepara­to­ry divi­sion. How­ev­er, her time at the con­ser­va­to­ry came to an abrupt end at age eleven, when her pen­chant for rock and alter­na­tive music clashed with the insti­tute’s clas­si­cal focus.

Unde­terred, Amos con­tin­ued to pur­sue her pas­sion, par­tic­i­pat­ing in var­i­ous music groups through­out the 80s. It was­n’t until the end of the decade that she shift­ed her atten­tion to a solo career.

Amos’ debut album, Lit­tle Earth­quakes, was a ground­break­ing achieve­ment. Its poignant sen­si­tiv­i­ty and inno­v­a­tive themes—addressing fem­i­nism, pol­i­tics, sex­u­al assault, and iden­ti­ty crises—were a breath of fresh air. The pow­er­ful track Cru­ci­fy encap­su­lates an exis­ten­tial cri­sis, explor­ing the pain soci­ety inflicts upon us as we ques­tion our very exis­tence:

Noth­ing I do is enough for you… Why do we cru­ci­fy our­selves?

Amos’ ascent con­tin­ued with the release of Under the Pink, fea­tur­ing alter­na­tive hits like Corn­flake Girl, which spot­light­ed themes of female betray­al and the com­plex­i­ties of nav­i­gat­ing friend­ships in life. Anoth­er stand­out track, God, with which she opened the con­cert in Paris, that chal­lenges reli­gious patri­archy and ques­tioned tra­di­tion­al pow­er dynam­ics.

Tori Amos Paris
Tori Amos dur­ing the sound­check at L’Olympia, Paris, 2023

Her sub­se­quent album, Boys for Pele, fur­ther solid­i­fied Amos’ sta­tus as one of the most promi­nent female voic­es of the 90s. Stand­out tracks such as Caught a Lite Sneeze and Hey Jupiter show­cased her mas­tery of blend­ing per­son­al expe­ri­ences with myth­i­cal and spir­i­tu­al imagery. The album’s title itself, a ref­er­ence to the Hawai­ian vol­cano god­dess Pele, sig­ni­fied a trib­ute to female pow­er.

Over the years, Amos has con­tin­ued to cap­ti­vate audi­ences with her diverse discog­ra­phy. Notable albums include Scar­let’s Walk (2002), a con­cept album reflect­ing a jour­ney across Amer­i­ca in the wake of the 9/11 attacks; The Bee­keep­er (2005), an intro­spec­tive explo­ration of love, loss, and spir­i­tu­al­i­ty; and Native Invad­er (2017), a deeply per­son­al work address­ing envi­ron­men­tal con­cerns and the com­plex­i­ties of human rela­tion­ships.

Her latest work

Tori Amos’ career has shown no signs of slow­ing down, with her lat­est album, Ocean to Ocean (2021), serv­ing as a tes­ta­ment to her artistry. Pro­found­ly influ­enced by the loss of her moth­er and the iso­la­tion expe­ri­enced dur­ing the Covid pan­dem­ic, Amos record­ed the album in Corn­wall, where soli­tude pro­vid­ed a space for intro­spec­tion on loss, resilience, and the deter­mi­na­tion to per­se­vere.

Tori Amos Paris
Setlist of the Paris show of the Ocean to Ocean Tour by Tori Amos, 2023.

Sur­round­ed by the sea, Amos fos­tered a deep con­nec­tion with nature, which is pal­pa­ble through­out the album’s tracks. The title song, Ocean to Ocean, address­es soci­ety’s issues and cli­mate change more direct­ly, fea­tur­ing poignant lyrics like:

There are those who don’t give a god­damn
That we’re near mass extinc­tion
There are those who nev­er give a god­damn
For any­thing that they are break­ing
There are those who only give a god­damn
For the prof­it that they’re mak­ing

A magic evening

Dur­ing the con­cert, this track emerged as a stand­out moment, with Amos’ emo­tion­al piano and vocal deliv­ery cap­ti­vat­ing the audi­ence. Her gen­uine enjoy­ment in per­form­ing was evi­dent through­out the night, as she effort­less­ly con­veyed her pas­sion for music.

As we reach the con­clu­sion of this unfor­get­table evening, the con­cert’s finale pro­vid­ed an elec­tri­fy­ing surge of ener­gy with a phe­nom­e­nal encore per­for­mance of Amos’ most icon­ic songs, Corn­flake Girl and Pre­cious Things.

Tori Amos Paris
From left to right, Ash Soan (the band’s drum­mer), Tori Amos and Jon Evans (the band’s bassist) right after end­ing their show in Paris, 2023.

The moment Amos struck the open­ing chords of Corn­flake Girl, the entire venue erupt­ed in cheers, with fans leap­ing to their feet in uni­son. The exhil­a­rat­ing ener­gy cours­ing through the crowd was pal­pa­ble, reach­ing a fever pitch dur­ing the song’s bridge as Amos play­ful­ly sang: Rab­bit, where’d you put the keys, girl?

To round off the evening, Amos deliv­ered a pow­er­ful ren­di­tion of the indis­putable clas­sic Pre­cious Things. Her mas­ter­ful exe­cu­tion of the song’s aggres­sive stac­ca­to notes sent shiv­ers down the spines of the audi­ence.

We invite you to join us on this explo­ration of artists who use their plat­forms to address press­ing soci­etal issues and cre­ate art that touch­es people’s hearts.

Written by David Ferrero
April 26, 2023

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