Fiona Apple at DPAC

On Thursday September 27, I saw Fiona Apple for the third time.  It was also the third time I’ve seen her with one of my close college friends, Amanda (aka Pookie).  Good times.  We first saw Fiona on December 9, 2005 at the Tower Theater in Upper Darby, PA.  The second time was much closer to home – July 22, 2006 at Jones Beach on Long Island (when she was touring with Damien Rice).  This time around, Fiona was playing here in North Carolina at the Durham Performing Arts Center (DPAC).  It was pure coincidence that Amanda and another college roommate, Sarah (hereby dubbed “Gar”) were going to be in town that night.  I had bought tickets back in June, way before plans were made for their trip to visit me and another roommate, Sara.  It’s unusual for them to come visit on a Thursday, let alone the same Thursday that Fiona Apple would be in town.

After torturing Jay with a four-camera photo session, we set forth from the apartment and headed to the Tobacco District in Durham, where DPAC is located.  We got there early and hit up Mellow Mushroom for some delicious pizza.  I’m generally just a pepperoni kinda gal, but I enjoy the different boutique style pizzas at MM.  We did a toast to start the weekend off right and when we were finished stuffing our faces, we headed to the venue.  We had gotten really lucky when Amanda & Gar had tried to purchase tickets in that they found seats one row in front of where my tickets were.  We had no problem getting someone to switch seats with them so we could all sit together.  They even served Fiona Apple themed drinks in honor of the evening.

Fiona took the stage around 8:45pm and played pretty much the entire time she was there.  To me, the concert seemed to go so quickly.  In fact, I wanna say that we were back in the car around 10:30pm, though my timeline has to be off.  I tried to take some video, but there was no video allowed – security was ALL over anyone who even had their cell phone lights on.  I always find it disappointing and stupid when artists won’t let you film them, especially in today’s day and age.  But that’s neither here nor there.  I managed to sneak in one picture, though it’s not as good as I hoped since I took it without looking so as not to appear too conspicuous.

The actual concert was AWESOME.  She played different songs than the first two times I’d seen her (here’s Upper Darby; review from Jones Beach).  She was incredible.  It was a much more coherent Fiona than I’d seen the previous two times.  She only briefly spoke in the beginning of the show and it was alluding to her recent arrest for marijuana and hash in Texas.  She opened the show alluding to the letter written to her by the sheriff’s office she held in after her arrest: “I don’t want to say his name, since he doesn’t need me to do so to make him famous, but I just want say that I’m not mad at him for calling me ‘Honey’ and ‘Sweetie’,” she said when she first walked out.  “He obviously doesn’t know that I prefer to be called ‘Sugar Tits.'”  And with that, she went right into Fast As You Can.  After performing On the Bound, she sat down at the piano and once again spoke about how lame she found it that the media was using headlines with puns from her song Criminal.  “Stop saying that I’ve ‘been a bad bad girl’ because I haven’t!” She lamented before adding, “But I sure wish I had some pot to sleep.” before launching into Shadowboxer.  [Fiona is a notorious insomniac, so her having some sort of medicinal marijuana (or even non-medicinal) to use as a sleeping aid makes sense.]  After she finished singing Shadowboxer, she followed up on her previous comments about bad media puns, by namingAmy Poehler’s quip calling her “Fiona Crapple” as a more preferred misnomer.  She immediately launched into Paper Bag, but upon finishing the song, she addressed the audience one last time to declare her crush on Poehler’s character Leslie Knope on Parks & Recreation.

As far as the actual vocal performance went, Fiona Apple sounded really, really strong.  Her emotional range was more under control than the previous times I saw her, but her vocal range was outstanding.  During Periphery, she went seamlessly from her normal, deep throated low and melodic vocals to light and airy.  I Know, my all-time favorite Fiona Apple song, was a huge highlight, as was Not About Love.  For the first song, she captivated everyone with a beautifully haunting rendition of her song about the pain of patiently waiting for someone to realize that she was the girl they belonged with.  The only thing that really bothered me was all the cat-calling and screaming that went down in the silent moment between when she sings, “You don’t need to say it…” and the music starts.  The latter song really showed off just how in control Fiona was during this concert.  Her vocals were all over the place (in terms of vocal range and emotions) and she had complete command over the piano.  The entire song was delivered with such a powerful punch that it was easily one of the night’s very best.  She ended the concert with a spectacular cover of a song by Conway Twitty calledIt’s Only Make Believe.

As I said before, the concert seemed to fly by.  Although she sang 17 songs, I swear it felt like it was over in 30 minutes.  I really do like her latest album (The Idler Wheel…) but I like a lot more after hearing her perform the new songs from it.  Aaahhh, she was so good.  Can’t wait for the chance to see her again.

Here’s the set-list:

  1. Fast As You Can
  2. On the Bound
  3. Shadowboxer
  4. Paper Bag
  5. Anything We Want
  6. Get Gone
  7. Periphery
  8. Sleep to Dream
  9. Extraordinary Machine
  10. Werewolf
  11. Left Alone
  12. I Know
  13. Tymps (Used to Love Him)
  14. Every Single Night
  15. Daredevil
  16. Not About Love
  17. It’s Only Make Believe
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