Beautiful venue – home to the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra (which I’ve heard tell can move you near to tears with the beauty of their renditions.)
We arrived about 20 minutes early, and I was surprised to find no queue whatsoever for entry to the venue. Did we have the date wrong? Was it the right place? The inevitable scalper outside was pushing the unlikely idea of front row seats for “cheap”, and after a minor delay while Mrs E tried to chug a 12oz frappoponcy from Starbucks, we walked in to a near empty building. Once the doors to the seating opened, I asked directions and was told that perhaps I’d like to talk to the lady’s colleague, way over on the other side. Having done as I was told, I was asked by the other lady whether we’d like to “upgrade for free” to seats downstairs by the stage. Wow – is the Pope catholic?! Of course we’d like to move from the upper balcony to 10 or so rows from the stage!!
As the clock ticked though, I began to realise that the theatre was going to be nowhere near its capacity. Weird! Fiona Apple is a very well established artist of 15+ years, touring with her fourth album, which has received critical acclaim. Her band performed a handful of numbers to get things going, lead by guitarist Blake Mills. An entertaining mix of Chris Izaacs style slide guitar country nonsense, but also some humorous lyrics. This from “It’ll all work out“:
I don’t feel a speck of hate
really now I’m trying to get my story straight
when you called me from the car when you were on your way
with your friend from San Francisco
that you told me was gay
well I guess he was a closet-straight
get it all out now
it’ll work out
Ms Apple came on at around 9:30, and played solid until 11:00pm. One song for the “encore” which was only noticeable as such because she announced it as “the encore”! I have to say that she is a shadow of her already skinny self as I remember seeing her first on MTv (in Belgium of all places) singing “Paper Bag“. Anorexic now and gaunt. Pehaps a drug thing? Couldn’t say, but she did not look well. Despite that, her voice was powerful, and many of the songs were delivered more vigorously than their recorded versions. A hugely enjoyable set, kicking off with “Fast as you can“. (Note how pretty she looked back then compared to her gaunt self in the photos below.) The drummer – Amy Wood – was incredibly energetic, and the signature Apple disruptive rhythms were executed flawlessly. She had great fun with Not About Love, stretching the pauses until the band creaked. Bassist Sebastian Steinberg (with both electric and upright bass at his command), and Zac Rae on keyboards rounded out the team.
The entire setlist can be found here if you’re interested.