After falling in love with Fiona Apple more than a decade ago, it is with great anticipation and trepidation that I finally got the chance to see her perform live for the first time – at a 500-person venue no less. As excited as I am, I am also kinda scared. Will the live performance possibly meet my outsized expectations? I have always imagined Fiona to be this mythic figure from listening to her albums. What if she doesn’t measure up? What if she fails?
Needless to say, I need not worry. Fiona not only met my expectations, she very easily surpassed them by the first song (Fast As You Can). It is possibly the best show I have seen in my life. Highlights include the momentum building start to Fast As You Can, the manic-inducing A Mistake, everybody singing along to both Paper Bag and Criminal, and the vocal intensity of Extraordinary Machine.
The new songs too, are perfect. She played three new ones – Anything We Want has a looping hypnotic vibe where Fiona uses a makeshift pipe to add to the beats (“Is that a bong?” someone shouted), Valentine is a heartening ballad, and Every Single Night recalls the intensity of the best parts of When The Pawn. I absorbed them to the best of my senses in anticipation of the upcoming album. Idler Wheel needs to happen soon.
Even though the show was short (50 minutes in length with no openers despite what the show billing says), it was enough. Fiona shimmered and shook as she sang – like the awkward teenager at heart that she is. Her manic epileptic dances are exactly how you remembered them more than a decade ago. The biggest difference is that she definitely seems happier and more contented. She soaked up the cheers and adulation of the audience. Three times during the show, she jumped up with her hands in the air, waving to the crowd. She clearly misses this.
The crowd itself was amazing. The room was packed elbow to elbow, but everyone was quiet and deferential, even reverential to Fiona as she sang. Everyone is clearly enamored of her and is beyond happy that she is back. It has been a long wait – for me and for every Fiona fan. But it has definitely been worth it.
Photos from the show are below. There are no videos taken as live recording was not allowed at the show. I’m sure you can easily find the stray recordings online if you look hard enough.