Tori Amos to serenade RIMAC Arena

    Trying to explain a Tori Amos concert to someone who is not a Tori devotee is like trying into explain sex to a virgin: You can’t really express how inspiring, how emotional, how passionate it is without sounding a little silly.

    Courtesy of http://www.toriamos.com

    Those who are followers of the red-haired priestess and swoon at the sound of her music know that sex is an apt metaphoric realm when talking Tori. Amos often sings about sex; salacious song lyrics include “”So you can make me cum, that doesn’t make you Jesus,”” “”Got an angry snatch,”” “”Gimme peace, love and a hard cock,”” and “”Boy, you better make her raspberry swirl.”” And then there’s “”Icicle,”” a song about a young girl masturbating while her family prays downstairs. Amos is also an R-rated performer, bumping and grinding with her piano bench and purring and moaning through spirited sets while wearing filmy dresses and tossing her auburn locks.

    And Amos’ audiences’ reaction to all of this? Orgasmic.

    Concert-goers throw themselves at Amos’ feet and show their adoration with tears, sighs and catcalls, and Amos feeds off this energy and produces a show worth nearly any ticket price. She’s known for peppering her set lists with quirky covers of everything from Nirvana to The Beatles, improvising song alterations on the spot, and never neglecting old standards like “”Cornflake Girl”” and “”Silent All These Years,”” which always put the crowd in a frenzy. If ever an audience and an artist were making love, they do at Amos’ concerts.

    Sex, it should be noted, is out of the spotlight on Amos’ newest album, “”Scarlet’s Walk.”” Though the entire album is underlaid by a pulsing sensuality, the “”sonic novel,”” as Amos calls it, is a reaction to the attacks of Sept. 11 — an exploration of America through the eyes of a character named Scarlet, an everywoman looking for her soul in our wild and wooly country.

    Don’t expect tribute songs about fallen heroes or flag-waving solidarity: One of the most provocative tracks on the album is the first, “”Amber Waves,”” in which America is compared to a wayward porn star. The album’s lyrics, sometimes conversational and often inscrutable in the grand Tori tradition, find a nice summation in the title track: “”‘what do you plan to do with all your stories’/ the new sheriff said, / quite proud of his badge / we’ll weave them through / every rocket’s red glare / and huddled masses.””

    The album’s sound has been described as a return to the girl-and-a-piano act of “”Under the Pink”” and “”Boys for Pele,”” but the pop sensibility shown on “”To Venus and Back”” and “”Strange Little Girls”” lingers; the songs have less narrative force than her rambling orchestral pieces of yesteryear, and are catchier and less memorable.

    Amos brings her Bosendorfer and her small band to RIMAC Arena on Dec. 13. Opening for Amos on this tour is the relatively unknown Howie Day, whose single, “”Ghost,”” has been getting airplay on MuchMusic and whose cover of The Beatles’ “”Help!”” appeared on the “”I Am Sam”” soundtrack. He’s noted for being easy on the eyes and challenging to the ears, laying down soulful vocals over acoustic guitar and intriguing samples and loops. Though he may be unsatisfying to the more rabid Toriphiles frothing in their seats, his act should ease listeners into the act as gently as foreplay.

    RIMAC Arena’s nearly 5,000 seats are sold out for the concert, but tickets can be acquired on eBay for a reasonable price. The venue should be suited to Amos’ and Day’s intimate songs (there’s not a bad seat in the house), but watch for acoustics to cause problems. Seats will cover the floor, and concert-goers will probably be asked not to stand during the show, so don’t expect a mosh pit — but don’t expect anyone to be in his seat when the curtain drops.

    Tori Amos and Howie Day play RIMAC Arena on Dec. 13 at 7:30 p.m.

    Tori Amos

    RIMAC Arena

    Dec. 13

    Show starts at 7:30 p.m.

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