It’s hard to understand why Eagle Rock have waited so long to release these two shows as part of their long-running Montreux series. Featuring tracks from Amos’ solo debut Little Earthquakes, they capture her at arguably the most creative point in her career thus far.
Back in the early 90s, Amos was full of the vulnerability and passion which her more recent tours have lacked (see the harrowing a cappella Me & A Gun), and the subtle simplicity of “one girl and her piano” gives her delivery more impact than when backed by her convoluting live band. The trademark lyrical idiosyncrasies and humorous exchanges with her audience that we’ve come to expect are in abundance here, and she doesn’t disappoint the fans with rarities and covers, most effectively her haunting, dirge-like take on Smells Like Teen Spirit.
There’s a distinct progression between the two performances, recorded almost exactly a year apart. It’s evident that, by 1992, Amos’ confidence has grown, as she even dares to reprimand inconsiderate audience members and indulges in self-ridicule. With such a limited oeuvre so early in her career, however, this double set falls into the unavoidable trap of being a little repetitive. Still, it provides further insight into an extraordinarily talented artist at her peak.