Sean Bw Parker catches the ‘leonine’ Tori Amos on the last leg of her European tour, as she drops in on his home city of Istanbul.
The impressive, leonine figure of Tori Amos, half a century on earth, moves comically through the dry ice billowing from the vast Kuçukçiftlik arena stage. She gives a humble little wave, and takes her place between an enormous black grand piano and a small keyboard placed opposite it – which she will frequently play simultaneously.
Whatever you think of Amos’ Kate Bush inspired inflections, piglet-suckling on album covers, or stance on feminism and stories of sexual abuse, she never fails to be noticed – a flame-haired rebel since being expelled from music school aged eleven, for refusing to read sheet music while playing.
The familiar, emotive, sometimes histrionic voice floats magnificently through the Istanbul night – the arena’s perfect sound manipulating the piano and Amos’ contralto neatly. Songs from her new album Unrepentent Geraldines (yep, still a rebel) nestle comfortably next to classics such as ‘Little Earthquakes’ and ‘Cornflake Girl’, complete with a somewhat mystifying syncopated backing track (in the absence of her band).
Some were surprised that Amos was happy to play requests, as she gamely emoted through Depeche Mode’s ‘Enjoy The Silence’ and U2’s ‘Running To Stand Still’ – old tracks from her Strange Little Girls covers album, inverting songs written by men about women.
Amos’ main communication with the audience was to share the fact that it was the last night of her European tour, and what a perfect coincidence that it was to fall on the same weekend as the Gay Pride march on Istiklal Caddesi a mile up the road. Two fitting emblems of freedom and independent thinking falling on Istanbul simulataneously, indeed; like welcome summer rain. Just three encores and another coy wave, and the lioness was gone.