Here’s a cellphone photo of Tori live from her website. Apparently she encourages it — there’s a place for fans to upload their photos. When the crowd rushed down to the stage for the first of the encores, you could see the little lights of cellphones everywhere. “It’s like Close Encounters,” Gene said. She seemed genuinely happy to be at the Palace Theater, mentioning that she hadn’t been in the area for some time, but that a chance to perform in this lovely theater was a plus. It was our first time inside, too, and it’s a beautiful location. I don’t know if she’s been playing Leonard Cohen’s “Famous Blue Raincoat” all along the tour, but it got a big cheer from the audience with the lines:
New York is cold, but I like where I’m living
There’s music on Clinton Street all through the evening.
The Palace, of course, is located on Clinton Street. It’s a song I love and her cover is a terrific version. The whole show was wonderful and a significant production, unlike some of the earlier, simpler “girl with a piano” tours. She’s making use of the American Doll Posse personas — changing wardrobes, for example. She came out in a slinky red outfit with monster heels and a long platinum wig, then later changed to a Vegasy sparkle jumpsuit and a long red wig. It was a lot of fun, and like the album, rocked big time. Old favorites appeared in the always evolving guises (“Tear in Your Hand,” “Caught a Lite Sneeze,” “Sugar” and “Cornflake Girl”), finishing up the second encore with a meditative version of “Hey Jupiter” that left the crowd happy but peaceful as they exited. I was kind of expecting her to end with “Teenage Hustling” as it adorned a few of the merchandise items, but I suppose that would have left the audience jumped up and volatile, so it was likely better to cool them down after all the excitement.
Tori fans are notoriously rabid in their fandom, so it was great to see them so welcoming to opening artist Yoaz who played a fascinating percussive guitar and received enthusiastic applause at the end of each song. Of course it didn’t compare to the thundering ovation Tori and her steady band received, but hey — it’s a start. She started with her anti-Bush song “Yo George” (just like the album does) and numbers like “Big Wheel” and “Devils and Gods” (the latter with a sort of “Tubular Bells” riff introduction) worked fantastically well live. No surprise there: Tori is one of the most consistently strong performers I’ve ever seen onstage (and yes, I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve seen her, but I’ve loved it every time).
The good news is they’re planning to release official “bootlegs” of the performances on the American leg, so I hope this is one of them. No stories, but in recent years, that’s been more and more the case. Too busy pounding that piano with the band, I guess — always great to see her playing two pianos at once and vamping in between.
If you want a less impressionistic review, see the Times-Union review.