Fiona Apple at the Paramount

| August 1, 2012 | 0 Comments


by: Sal Christ

Photo: Stock

When I digitized my Fiona Apple collection years ago, I filed it under the genre of “Chick Power,” a non-descript moniker, save for its insinuation that such music was rowdy, raucous tuneage that may or may not have a predilection toward feminism. While I wouldn’t have called Apple and her catalog of auditory meanderings “feminist,” she was, and is, beyond any manufactured slinger of so-called “girl power.”

With haunting vocal cords that are their own instrument, and a mesmerizing sense of the human condition, Apple epitomizes “badass chick” and despite their flawlessness, her studio recordings pale in comparison to their live encounter. Trying to keep the atmosphere as familial as an evening with friends, Apple’s show at the Paramount Theater on July 20 was otherworldly.

Kicking off with “Fast As You Can,” it was easy to forget that Apple isn’t normally considered a rock star. Her studio albums reach out from the depths of blues, of the singer/songwriter persuasion…of something other than the traditional flow of rock music. Yet, slithering about sylph-like and lost in her own head space was this rock star banging out a metaphorical history that served as the personal soundtrack for so many in the audience.

“Shadowboxer” and “Paper Bag” and “Criminal” rewound time to a darker place, a younger place, a period during which life was a little less lived for all of us. Of course, then, Apple broke into younger tracks from her latest release and the now-seven year old Extraordinary Machine, an album by far the most whimsical and fairylike of them all. As if to match the pitch, Apple’s presence, too, transformed into something lighter with a grin cracking across her face. How could one not be seduced by the woman in her yellow Mary-Jane sneakers and long hair knotted on top her head? You felt the hum of the bass and the white sting of the cymbals clashing against one another, you felt the nervous buzz clomping around Apple’s every stomp at the piano bench, and you felt the airy, pastel exhilaration of every memory associated with the blue-grey, almost-six-minutes-long “Carrion.”

Half-eavesdropping on a conversation between a kid that called himself a “music critic” and another fan discussing the merits of said critics in the moments before Apple took the stage, I couldn’t help but think that the singer’s confidence in her voice—both literal and figurative—was her allure. Apple pre-empted the encore twice during the latter part of the show: once mistakenly, and once genuinely, stating that she couldn’t walk off stage only to come right back out.

Apple laughed, told us she loved us back, and called out to no one or everyone or just a nameless someone during the non-encore, “my only prayer will be that one day you will care for me,” and true as that, her fans care for her music, care that after nearly a decade she’s returned, and care in the most selfish way possible for her place in our lives.

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Category: Planet Buzz

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