Music review

Tori Amos mines her discography at Boston Opera House

Tori Amos alternated between her piano and keyboards Friday night.
Jay Connor for The Boston Globe
Tori Amos alternated between her piano and keyboards Friday night.

The flame-haired singer-songwriter Tori Amos has been touring light this time around, leaving her band at home in favor of some keyboards (including her Bösendorfer piano) and her formidable soprano.

But Amos has an innate ability to turn the everyday into something greater — from her digging deep to excavate poetry from wrenching moments to her transformation of a sharp intake of breath into a percussive element — and her spare setup set the stage for a commanding performance on Friday at the Boston Opera House.

Amos has a vast catalog — “Unrepentant Geraldines,” which came out in March, is her 14th studio album — and her set Friday spanned much of it; the determined 2007 track “Secret Spell” was given an extra charge by the way she flipped back and forth between her piano and keyboard, and the title track of her 1992 breakthrough “Little Earthquakes” built beautifully.


She snuck other artists into her set during the brief mid-set “Lizard Lounge,” appending the roof-raising chorus of Boston’s “More Than A Feeling” to the end of Dave Loggins’s wandering-man lament “Please Come To Boston” in a way that only amped up the ache; she also wove threads from Stevie Nicks’s “Edge Of 17” into a simmering version of Prince’s “When Doves Cry,” then returned the focus to her own work with the chilly 1998 track “Black-Dove (January).”

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That attention to how pop tropes and words play off each other is one of the reasons Amos has attracted such a devoted fan base; following the through line of her work reveals the path of a true iconoclast, a woman unafraid to speak her truth while also showing off her piano chops and appreciation for other musicians.

The main set ended with her rousing 1994 rebuke to conventional femininity “Cornflake Girl”; right before that song started groups of fans bolted from their seats and crowded together at the front of the house, the better to shower Amos with adulation. They remained during her brief retreat from the stage and through her encore of the “Unrepentant Geraldines” track “Wedding Day” and the hushed “Hey Jupiter,” which quieted the crowd to pin-drop silence.

Once that song’s final note finished ringing out Amos, who had been fairly banter-light during the evening, popped up from her perch and gave a bit of applause back to the crowd, a gesture that, by honoring the electric current between performer and audience, added just enough sweetness to the night.