Tori, Tori

As the chosen one clambered onstage, a security guard raced from the wing, put her in a bear hug and started to drag her away. Tori stopped playing. "Excuse me, hey!" she scolded. "I invited her up here, now you let her go." Released, the girl sat beside Tori and held her microphone. She giggled and waved to her friends at first, but by the end of the song she had her eyes closed and her back arched, her long, blond hair spilling past the bench as she swayed with the music. Chalk it up to the aura of Tori.

Mesmerizing throughout both of her Salt Lake City shows, Amos combined the allure of the Zeppelin-era rock stars, who built a wall of magic between them and their audiences, with the direct connective power of grunge rockers like Kurt Cobain, who tore it down. Writhing on her bench, silhouetted against massive flames raging on the odd-angled multimedia screen behind her, Tori looked like she was channeling the Hawaiian volcano goddess Pele from the title of her new album. Yet from the shy waves she used to acknowledge the roar of the crowd as she came onstage to her chatty stage patter, Amos treated her performances like recitals in front of a rather large group of friends.

To screams of "I love you, Tori" piercing the silence between songs, Tori always responded, "I love you, too." Early in the second show, she took a swig of water from the Evian bottle beneath her bench. "Spit water on me, Tori," a boy in front pleaded. "Oh, now, come on. I'm not gonna spit water on you," she replied. "Pleeeeasse." He was begging for it. Instead, she got up and playfully dumped water on the heads of the fetishist and his friends on both sides. The three boys for Tori jumped up and down and spun in ecstatic circles. Their souls had been cleansed.

--David Holthouse

Tori Amos is scheduled to perform two concerts on Tuesday, July 2, at Symphony Hall. Showtimes are 7 and 10 p.m.

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