The last stop of Fiona Apple’s first tour in support of “Extraordinary Machine” found her back in New York, a place that stirs up numerous emotions for the songstress. Indeed, she laid her cards out on the table early on, stating a few times how nervous she was. Not only is New York a hometown show for her, it was the setting of her now infamous 2000 on-stage “meltdown” where she stormed off stage.
But her past has never been questioned by her rabid fanbase, as the 1200-person Nokia Theatre was jam-packed. When Apple took the stage a few minutes after 9 p.m., she was greeted with a chorus of shrill shrieks from the female-dominated audience. She took to her piano first, and launched into “Get Him Back” while bouncing up and down on her piano stool.
Even though she pleaded guilty on a bit of stage fright, never did it show. She commanded her crowd into an eerie silence, where they hung onto every word and every note she hit. If there was a spot where she felt most comfortable, it was behind her piano, which comprised about half the set. When she was by herself at the mic, she would often stare off into space, almost in a possessed manner, which was probably just to keep from breaking concentration.
The 19-song set plucked from all three of her albums, the songs from “Tidal” garnering the loudest screams of joy. But it was material from 1999’s “When the Pawn…” that best showed Apple’s emotions and convictions. During “Get Gone” and “To Your Love” she scrunched her face tight as she belted out the lyrics, proving to herself she can deliver these songs without a hitch.
The one hiccup seemed to be Apple’s voice, which was more throaty than usual at times. “To Your Love” benefited from this, giving it an extra sultry feel, but others like “Get Gone” suffered with the strain.
If her “Tidal” songs were gifts to the faithful and the “When the Pawn” material was an offering of redemption, the “Extraordinary Machine” tracks were those of the seasoned veteran. “O’Sailor” was nailed to perfection, and “Tymps” had Apple almost in a scat-like frenzy as she guided us through her prior thought processes of one fateful Friday night.
The first encore was the title track, which she dedicated to her mom. The stage was sparse, with just opener David Garza on guitar and her upright bassist. “Parting Gift” closed the night, with just Apple, the piano and a lone spotlight on her.
Although she probably doesn’t need to do much to engross her fans, Apple tackled her material tonight with an almost dizzying passion that created a collective gaze instead of a normal “happy-go-lucky” concert experience.
Here is Fiona Apple’s set list:
“Get Him Back”
“Better Version of Me”
“To Your Love”
“Sleep To Dream”
“Tymps (The Sick in the Head Song)”
“On the Bound”
“Red Red Red”
“Not About Love”
“Fast As You Can”