This writer has been waiting to see Fiona Apple since her ears started distinguishing quality music from quantity pop hits. Granted, “When The Pawn” was released when she was very young, it that shows how timeless Ms. Apple’s work is. Fiona Apple played for a small crowd at the Largo on the Coronet on September 24, 2011.
Margaret Cho was brought on stage to do an opening routine. When it was finally time for Fiona Apple the audience was ready. As she graced the stage many were mesmerized. I am almost certain I will never be a foot away from Fiona Apple again in my life, so I made it a point to take in every moment.
She opened with “Extraordinary Machine” accompanied by Jon Brion on guitar (a legend himself). The hits almost stopped there. “On The Bound” was played as well as “Fast As You Can,” but I don’t recall anymore from her last two albums being played at all nor did Fiona skillfully charge keys from the piano on stage. In fact, she didn’t touch the piano once.
Regardless, her covers of “Jolene” among several others were enough to distract me from not hearing more of my favorites. In between confused banter with her band (all of which are remarkable musicians) and a few cameos by other artists, Ms. Apple seemed like she was playing to some friends in her living room. She even ate pieces of chocolate cake during the set and laughed at her friends intensity on certain instruments. For a second I felt like I was her friend, which is the beauty of the Largo.
After seeing at least 15 shows in the four months I’ve been in Los Angeles, this performance was the first one to inspire me to write. Fiona Apple’s voice tugged at my heartstrings and I did find myself, once or twice, swelling up with tears from a place that could almost feel the heartache in her words. Who knows, if a few more songs from “When The Pawn”…were played, I probably would have needed therapy.