Choosing to see Fiona Apple live is definitely a gamble. On a bad night she might rant about her recent drug arrest in Texas or she might decide to hide under her piano or she might just decide to cut things short completely. But on a good night--and Tuesday night at Terminal 5 in New York City was a very good night-- Apple proved why she’s worth shelling out a few bucks for.
From the moment she sang the first words of “Fast As You Can” Apple was in full control. In the usually sterile Hell’s Kitchen venue, the singer’s voice livened things up as she went from cutesy (“Extraordinary Machine”) to sassy (“Left Alone”) to manic on her Janis Joplin-esque take on "Sleep To Dream." She waved her frail arms around and around, howling and yelping the majority of the time.
With a 4-piece band behind her and a light show that could rival any arena rock band, she chose to take center stage most of the night instead of hiding behind the piano. When she did sit back there though, she used it to her advantage. She did sit-ups and teased the crowd with a long, overdrawn pause after the first chorus of “Not About Love” from her 2005 album Extraordinary Machine, leaving fans hanging, just as they did after Apple finished the nearly two-hour set without an encore.
Though Apple just released her latest album, The Idler Wheel…, in June, she waited until five songs in before showing off her new material. Songs like “Every Single Night” and “Daredevil,” were pumped up to the max whether Apple was choosing to show off her big booming voice or scale things back to a sweet coo. Often times, like on "Werewolf, "she switched between the two.
Apple definitely has a flair for the dramatic, but last night at least she used it all for the music.
Words by Shannon Carlin
Photos by Nadia Chaudhury