Friday, March 23, 2012

Fiona Apple at the Music Hall of Williamsburg

She is still petite and she is still rail thin, only now her lithe form is outfitted with demure musculature. Her eyes still carry that glimmer of crazed knowledge beyond her years, but Fiona Apple is older now. Her rage is deeper rooted and far more believable as a 34-year-old than it ever was as an 18-year-old. Through the anger you can still sense the aching fragility of her character. I can't fathom functioning well enough to balance on a wire between rage and fragility. It is one circus performance I definitely don't feel confident to perform, but Fiona Apple knows the act well, and years away from the stage hasn't hindered her ability to perform at all.

It's been a while since her devoted following has heard or seen anything from their sullen girl, and it showed in their mood while waiting for her to get on stage. It felt as if I was swimming in a tank filled with starved piranhas. By some miracle of god I managed to procure a spot directly in front of Fiona's piano at the left side of the stage. The women around me were pleasant enough, but if you were over a certain height, you were going to get your ankles chewed off. I overheard one girl shriek desperately to a man who stood in front of her, "I've been waiting for this for 10 years, please don't spoil it by blocking my view!" I couldn't blame her, that's exactly how I felt. When Fiona finally emerged from the back, it was as if everyone exhaled at the same moment. An epic sense of relief washed over us at the sight of our angry siren standing above us on the mic, shyly talking about her dog, and how we need to be quiet and respectful to musicians when they're performing. To be fair, we deserved the criticism, but having an opening act when you've been M.I.A. for years is a bad idea.

The show was a hopeful taste of what's to come. We got a hefty sampling of new material, including my particular new favorite track of promise "Anything We Want" it was a peppy blend of fun and dramatic, a Fionian nuance that's sparked and flourished beautifully over the last few years. "Valentine" seems like the piano anthem lost "grrls" of the nineties will be blasting in their iPod earbuds while they sip their coffees during their commute to work- which (depending on how you perceive that sentence) isn't necessarily a bad thing. "Every Single Night" had a very modern feel to it, and appeared to me as the most sophisticated form of Fiona's musical evolution to date. It makes me even more anxious to grab a copy of her new album "Idler Wheel" as soon as it's released. We got a fairly mixed set list of all her albums- personally I could've used A LOT more from Extraordinary Machine, but this is an instance where the cliché "beggars can't be choosers" comes to mind. 

Actually, the way the show panned out, I'd say that was the catch phrase of the EVENING. Given the fact that at the end of her single encore ditty we all stood and stared famished and begging for more. Despite our tireless efforts, which included multiple rounds of applause, foot stomping, cat calling, chanting, and hooting that went on for well over 20 minutes, not a singular extra scrap of a note was played. The house lights flew up and suddenly I was sent out into the chilled vernal night, with only fragments of what had just happened echoing in my ears.

Welcome Back, Fiona, please don't keep us waiting too long.

Set List:
Fast as You Can
On the Bound 
Paper Bag 
A Mistake
New song "Anything We Want"
New Song "Valentine"
Sleep to Dream
Extraordinary Machine 
New Song "Every Single Night"

Encore song: "Only You"?

Friday, March 16, 2012

I haven't sent a text message post in a very long time, in the age of smart phones and portable doodads it seems silly to send a text blog post anymore. Yet, as I sit here on this bus barreling southward towards Washington DC it dawned in me that it's been a long while since I've written.

It's not because I haven't had anything to write. 2011 went out with an explosive force of energy like I've never experienced before. I saw the Cure at the Beacon Theatre, I went to the Czech Republic, and, I received the greatest gift I've ever had the honor and privilege to receive, a diamond ring from the love of my life.

2012 began quietly, with a content smile on my face, then a sudden jolt and frenzy of activity l had me summersault in merriment - I got a fancy new studio with my team to design in, I had brunch with one of my favorite musicians of all time (seriously, I'm still reeling) which inadvertently leaves me short one copy of Brumalia (you owe me a copy mr. you know who you are! I am all smiles as I say this), I wept at Madame Butterfly, then I saw Miss Piggy in her wedding dress ala Muppets take Manhattan, followed up by Zola Jesus at Webster Hall. That was just January and February.

Now it's March and here I am on a bus, eagerly awaiting my arrival at one of my oldest friends doorsteps to take in some smiles and hopefully the sight of cherry blossoms in our Nation's capital. Next week I am seeing Fiona Apple.

With all this good stuff having happened, happening, and about to happen... How is it that I haven't written? Well, with all the good life gives you, there must be a balance with the bad. It's been a personally tumultuous time for me, physically and emotionally speaking. Admitting weakness has never been a strong point for me, and even just writing that sentence has me hesitating to continue, but I'm trying to break a spell, undo a hex, lift a curse, uncork myself and my ability to create and be creative.

I want to be myself again.

So, maybe this is a start of my blogging again, or an apology to myself for the way I've been avoiding my own passions- I don't know. I just know that life despite its demented curve balls doused in gasoline... Is predominantly good and needs to be celebrated more often by me... And you too.

Thanks for reading.