Hejira

fiona in philly

march 4. 2000

i'm not sure if this worked, actually...Back home again. Yippee yippee. My family is already driving me crazy.

I did manage to start off my spring break smashingly, with a really good concert. I went to see Fiona Apple here in Philadelphia on Friday night with my friend John, who came down from New York City just to see it with me.

Some of you may have heard about the little temper tantrum she threw at the show at the Roseland Ballroom earlier in the week. She was having sound problems, and after about 40 minutes into her set, she left amid a flurry of cursing and tears. Which once again confirms my suspicion that, while a very talented musician, she can't seem to handle the showbiz part of being a multi-platinum recording artist. Which is really too bad, because it's going to keep many people who would otherwise be interested in her music away.

John and I rode Septa, for once. My third time...whoohoo!! It was the first time I had ridden the Market Street-Frankford line, and they ended being VERY nice subways. Actually, they turn into elevated trains once they're out of center city, but wow...quiet, fast, padded seats. I was tres impressed.

The concert was at the Tower Theatre, which was in Upper Darby, west of Center City. The theatre itself was very old, with a blue ceiling with little lights to simulate the night sky. It was really quite beautiful. While we were in lobby, I smelled someone smoking pot in the bathroom. Imagine...how pathetic is that? Getting stoned at a Fiona Apple concert, of all places. Most of the people there were of one kind: skinny little preteens wearing baby tees and capri pants. THEY ALL LOOKED THE SAME. It was almost funny to see.

The opening act was a bit of an anomaly, a rap group named Jurassic 5 that was so completely mismatched for the crowd that was there to see Fiona. John and I opted to stay out in the lobby and ate oversize cookies from the concession stand and laughed at all the stupid girls.

The concert itself was adequate. I guess I shouldn't have expected more. Fiona, at age 22, simply doesn't have the experience or age to command a stage in the style of Tori and Ani, the way I'm used to. I leaned over to John at one point and said, "I'm really missing Tori right now." Fiona just doesn't have the musical range of Tori, especially on the piano, where her lack of ability could really be seen. On the other hand, however, Tori couldn't even hope to have a voice as great as Fiona's. That's the thing that really held the performance together...her voice sounded as good as it did on her albums. She occasionally overdid this growling thing that made MY vocal cords hurt, but other than that, it sounded fabulous. The songs from her second album were generally performed better than the ones from her first album, especially "Limp" and "On the Bound" and "Paper Bag". Although she just basically reproduced the album sound, I found myself kind of wishing she could try to improv a little more. But I knew, given her lack of experience, that was unlikely to happen.

Her stage presence irritated me somewhat. It was here that you could see her age (or lack thereof). She did the cutesy little girl thing, babbling on at some points. These antics are charming for some, but they just irritated me.

All in all, a fairly good concert. I think she has a long way to go, but she has some incredible potential as a musician and performer. If she could just get rid of this general big mouthedness and skittishness, she would be all set to really go places in the music industry.