TVD Live: Fiona Apple at the House of Blues, 9/24

“I just want to say to Charley Drayton who wrote this record with me, that I’m really really sorry that all the work that we did is being overshadowed by all this bullshit. Also – there aren’t two fucking lockboxes. I didn’t make up a code. It was my way of drawing a parallel between the self…I’m not that fucked up! I went out and made the effort of buying lockboxes? Anyway, that’s all, just Charley, I’m really sorry about this shit.”

Fiona’s opening salvo verbatim, launching the night with a fiery contempt for Monday’s open letter from Rusty Fleming, the Hudspeth County Sheriff’s Department Public Information Officer, also served as some clarification for some statements she made post-arrest at her concert in Houston last Friday.

Enter the set’s opener “Fast As You Can,” sung with a violence not captured by any of her recorded performances I’ve seen (excepting maybe this one). Not for a single verse did she ease up or lose the near-crazy ardency she’s known for, nor did she seem panic-stricken, reticent, or mousy. The Fiona who performed in New Orleans was straightforward and confident.

Beating her chest and eventually the stage floor during “Sleep To Dream,” she’s come a long way from the start of this tour, her first in five years. If anyone needed a little “Just because, because,” on Monday night, they got it during the sold-out show in support of her newest creation The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than The Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do.

If you weren’t familiar with the breadth of her material, I would bet you couldn’t guess which songs were the newest. With conviction Apple tore apart the new “Chaperone” just as she unraveled “Limp,” swinging like a pendulum from piano to center mic. The reassembly of classics “On the Bound” and “Shadowboxer” resulted in sing-alongs for the crowd, with Apple turning inward on “I Know.” I had assumed this tune was tucked deep into her repertoire enough to keep it hidden on this outing, but I was perfectly surprised to hear this piece in person.

Fiona Apple’s performance reigns king when it comes to sentiment, honesty, and art – three keys I feel are often lacking in today’s interpretations of music. With famous rants, a recently gaunt appearance, and as nonpublic as Fiona Apple may be at times, I’d pay a much heftier price to see her perform again, as she continues to prove herself one of the greatest artists of our time.

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