Sunday, September 23, 2012
Concert review: Fiona Apple avoids topic of arrest at WinStar show (September 22)
She skipped her biggest hit, "Criminal," perhaps to avoid all-too-easy jokes.
Fiona Apple’s recent arrest when hashish was found on her tour bus in Sierra Blanca, Texas, could’ve easily caused her to cancel her appearance at WinStar Casino on Saturday night. She postponed her ACL Live performance in Austin (where she was headed at the time of the arrest), but continued on with the rest of her tour with a show in Houston on Friday. Thankfully, the WinStar date remained intact as well; her fans anxiously waited to see what she would do and say during her second show since she spent the night in jail.
A video from her show in Houston shows Apple discussing the arrest saying, “The guy who runs the jail, he’s a real decent guy, I want to apologize to him for being attitude-y.” She went on to discuss four other workers who laughed at her and talked about her like she wasn’t there, stating that she wrote down everything they said (including their names) and that “unless you’re interested in being a celebrity, I will make you f**king famous and open these boxes anytime you like.”
Even with her recent headline-making news, the massive conference room/concert hall was only half-filled. Blake Mills, Apple’s handsome guitarist, stepped out 15 minutes past show time to play an opening set filled with sleepy electric numbers reminiscent of Ryan Adams in his country days. Almost an hour after Mills had finished, Apple finally stepped out on a mission and without a greeting, and began “Fast As You Can” behind the mic. The rail-thin performer hastened behind her trusty piano soon after, where she ferociously growled and pounded through “Shadow Boxer” in the fashion we’ve come to love. The painful and vulnerable wounds that Apple writes about so candidly are ripped open each time she performs, making the show more like a drama than a live set.
Although she never mentioned her arrest, Apple’s mood seemed heightened and more high-strung than usual. She hardly spoke between songs, but when she did it was to thank the crowd “for being so good to her.” One fan screamed out “We love you Fiona!" and she replied, “I love you too. I f**kin' need you.”
Like her SXSW set in Austin, Apple beat on her chest and hips with clenched fists throughout the night, exposing her aggression during “Sleep to Dream” and “Left Alone.”
Regardless of her potential inner struggles, Apple’s breakneck lines and chirpy notes were delivered on point, encouraging the supportive audience who stood for the majority of the show. She even picked up drum mallets and tinkered with glassware during “Daredevil” – though percussion is not her usual weapon of choice. At moments, Apple stared off into space or sat down on the floor, off somewhere far away, like a beautifully tortured actress during her toughest scene. After her dreamy version of Conway Twitty’s “It’s Only Make Believe” accompanied by the ebb and flow of Mill’s bottleneck slide, Apple left with a sigh of relief and no encore, saying, “You’ve been a very good audience for me. Thank you so much.”
The biggest shock was that she skipped her biggest hit, “Criminal,” potentially to avoid the all-too-easy jokes that could ensue. Apple’s dark shadows drew out the raw energy fans are addicted to, making us only want more. Who said a little time behind bars doesn’t do you good?
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