It's hard to believe that Fiona Apple has been making music for nearly 20 years. From her days as a salacious teen who was the object of many people's dark, twisted fantasies, the petite singer's sex appeal hasn't changed much even if her career has.
Playing before a nearly sold out crowd a day after her 35th birthday, the reclusive Apple's 17- song set had a little bit for everyone. Though she releases an album as frequently as a senatorial race, her fans are remain devoted to her, just like back in the Tidal days.
Apple's energy was apparent from the moment she came on-stage, jumping and throwing her body around, feeding off the crowd's excitement. The singer and her four-piece backing band were crisp and played with relative ease, giving the songs life on an unseasonably hot evening. Her trademark contralto vocals along with her blend of jazz meets piano rock meets baroque pop still resonates with her cult following.
Without an elaborate stage show, last night was all about the music. Songs like “Sleep to Dream,” “Periphery” and “Not About Love” showcased the singer's complex lyrics in a live setting, which was appreciated by her fans. Before “Shadowboxer” fans serenaded Apple with “Happy Birthday” and she seemed genuinely touched by the gesture–even if fans screaming things like “We love you Fiona!” felt a little more suited for a Bon Jovi concert.
Instead of being reacting negatively or ignoring the attention, Apple flashed a smile from time-to-time, taking in the moment while appreciating the crowd's support. Though she's been known to have stage fright before a gig (see July's show at the Palladium as an example) or other emotional breakdowns, Friday night went off without a hitch.
It was easy to know what moments meant the most to the singer. Though some parts of were slow, you could easily tell when she was into it. Whether she was perched behind a piano or violently twisting and twirling her body to the music, Apple didn't hide much on-stage. Her emotional lyrics still resonate with many and served as a reminder to why Apple is regarded as one of music's most talented lyricists, even if her album sales won't ever match Tidal.
“It's really pretty her and you guys are wonderful,” the gaunt singer said before closing with Conway Twitty's “It's Only Make Believe.”
Though she's become more critically acclaimed than international icon, on a sticky night at the Greek, Fiona Apple reminded everyone that when she's on her game, she's one of the best songwriters out there.
Critical Bias: Apple once again proved why she's one of the great lyricists in music even if she continues to make infrequent appearances.
The Crowd: From girls who knew all of the lyrics to the guys who took them there, it was a night of romance regardless of race, creed or sexuality
Random Notebook Dump: “For those of you here that I know who have been trying to get a hold of me, I lost my phone,” Apple confessed mid-set. Now guess we know who's pre-ordering the iPhone 5.
Set list below:
Fast as You Can
On the Bound
Anything We Want
Sleep to Dream
Tymps (The Sick in the Head Song)
Every Single Night
Not About Love
It's Only Make Believe (Conway Twitty cover)
Daniel Kohn is a writer based in Southern California. With bylines in an assortment of outlets, Kohn primarily specializes in music with other interests ranging from sports to food. As a transplant, Kohn loves the beautiful weather and is glad he no longer has to deal with brutal winters. If you see him, say hi and of course, he’s always willing to down a beer or two…if you’re paying.