Fiona Apple at the Peabody Opera House, 7/14/12: Review, Photos and Setlist


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Kholood Eid
Then she's back at center stage for the churning "Paper Bag" (When the Pawn...) arguably her most famous song not titled "Criminal," and it's lauded in kind by the audience -- but then, they're lauding every song, movement, whisper. "Paper Bag" straddles extreme falsettos and crushing, deep, mournful cries (growls?), all of which Apple belts with heartbreaking soul, accompanied by jerky, stumbling dance. Four songs into the set she finally tenders some The Idler Wheel... with "Anything We Want," a mesmerizing break that waxes a sunnier brand of romance. The trip forward is brief; soon it's back to When the Pawn... with gloomy, conversational "Get Gone." Delving even deeper, Apple cuts through the next song, "Sleep to Dream" (Tidal), like a machete through tall grass. Fully inhabiting and taking the shape of each song she spouts is distraction enough from the small nervous habits she also fully inhabits on stage -- Playing with her long, messy hair, unfurling it like a curtain around her slight frame, tightly fastening it in ponytails; exchanging her dark rimmed glasses between every other song; dancing on her toes like a possessed ballerina.

"Extraordinary Machine" from the album of the same name (2005) rouses the crowd with its calculated buoyancy, with Apple channeling Judy Garland on high notes, Billie Holiday on the low. The band -- Mills, Steinberg, Wood, Rae -- are exceptional, too, clear, crisp and enhance the turbulent tide of Apple's vocals. Glimpses of The Idler Wheel... return with "Werewolf" (found-sound included) alternating with "Tymps (The Sick in the Head Song)" from Extraordinary Machine, then back with "Daredevil" followed by the closing track from When the Pawn..., "I Know."

The last new cut is "Every Single Night," the first single from The Idler Wheel..., a riff of experimental vocals with a stirring hook. The final three songs of an already fan-focused set come in quick succession and to much sensation: "Not About Love," (Extraordinary Machine) with Apple back on piano, a triumphant, stormy charge; "Carrion," (Tidal) a darker, more solemn mood that edges into "Criminal," (Tidal) the song that put her on the map in 1996 and a song that could feel boilerplate if it were anyone else's. For the first time Apple removes the mic from its stand, curling the chord with her fingers, sauntering about in the spotlight, clocking a forceful, almost antagonistic rendition of the redemption song.

All evening she has been short on small talk and crowd banter -- that didn't keep the crowd from bantering with her, though -- and as "Criminal" reached its feverish, retching end, she asks the crowd to, "Pretend it's two minutes in the future," and explained that she and her band don't leave the stage for their encore. Her parting gift for the evening was a cover of Conway Twitty's "My One and Only You," a sweet ballad that Apple begins softly, then roars to a close. A soul-filled extended guitar solo by Blake Mills leaves the crowd rapt in attention -- if only it'd been a full house for his set -- and Fiona Apple's undeniable preternatural pipes pluck the song to a close. Cut to the singer throwing in a bit of writhing on the floor, maybe just for old time's sake, and she exits, leaving a stunned and empathetic audience in her wake.

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Kholood Eid
Setlist:
Fast As You Can
On the Bound
Shadowboxer
Paper Bag
Anything We Want
Get Gone
Sleep to Dream
Extraordinary Machine
Werewolf
Tymps (The Sick in the Head Song)
Daredevil
I Know
Every Single Night
Not About Love
Carrion
Criminal
Encore:
My One and Only You (Conway Twitty cover)


Location Info

Venue

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Peabody Opera House

14th St. and Market St., St. Louis, MO

Category: Music

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22 comments
Bro_Pelini
Bro_Pelini

I thought the crowd was pretty good, cheering at appropriate times and such. Pretty much every other concert I've attended has had people yakking it up during quieter parts, and I was very pleased that that wasn't the case here. I did think it was a little odd though that I didn't really see anyone moving around. I realize we're all seated, but Fast as You Can and On the Bound were rocking out pretty good, and I couldn't help but move around a little. I will admit to not making any noise at all though, since I was busy recording it. You can find one of the songs on youtube.

 

And to the guy saying tickets were expensive: It was really easy to find tickets below face. I could have picked up a 2nd row seat for 35 bucks. I settled for row P for 40 bucks, which was like 20 bucks under face.

kittylitter
kittylitter

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Jessica P
Jessica P

Liz, thanks for your review, this was far better than the crud the Post-Dispatch gave us in Monday's issue. I'm glad we have someone at the RFT writing about true artistry that knows something about what she's talking about. Liz: Do you know if this review will make it in Thursday's print edition, yet? I will say something about the nosiyness of the crowd. This was not a noisy crowd. I've been to see Fiona several times, trecking my way to Chicago when she was supporting When the Pawn and Extrodinary machine, and again to Peoria when she toured with NIcklecreek a few years ago. I will agree that sometimes, we may not think some of the more boisterous comments from the crowd might be appropriate, but admonishing people for feeling the music and vocalizing it isn't right either. I will say though, that I don't appreciate people loudly singing along, which I didn't really notice in my row CC seats next to the lighting/sound booth. I know every word and will gladly belt out the lyrics in my car or at home,  but at a concert, I realize that my neighbor probably only came to hear Fiona and not Jessica. But again, this crowd was not noisy, I didn't even notice the shout out you mentioned during the show or the person that was evicted for pot. I really loved that most of these fans were real fans, knew the music, knew when to applaud for the most part and didn't ruin that delicious pause near the end of "I know." However, I do feel some of the crazy energy I've seen at shows past was missing. I went to the Kansas City show on Tuesday as well, and there were cat-calls throughout, and people were even less respectful to Blake's opening set, talking behind me loudly as if they were in some night club, and not the beauitful Midland (similar to the Fox in splendor... and I realize has often been a standing room set, but we had assigned seats there).

Emilysrevolution
Emilysrevolution

1.  I submit to you that the artist that wrote the lyrics "Oh, you silly, stupid pastime of mine" is not so fragile that she loses her mind each time one of her many VERY DEVOTED fans, at the sheer elation of seeing her artistry live, shouts "We love you, Fiona" or "Rock it out!".   2.  I was actually just having a discussion with my social media peers about why St. Louis audiences have to be so lame that the only way they can enjoy a show is through silent and aggressive staring.  Please note that I was born here, I've lived her most of my life but I have also lived other places.  Where St. Louis is the ultimate baseball town, it is an epic failure as a concert town.  We have no great intimate small-medium size clubs anymore.  I call this the Mississippi Nights deficit.  But beyond that, our expectation as a town that real artists can only be silently adored unless at a bluegrass show is ridiculous.  It is not like this in ANY OTHER CITY.  I have only ever been shushed or heard others shushed in St. Louis.  I have only been mocked for dancing in St. Louis.  However, at a baseball game once I saw a girl throw up down 4 rows in front of her here and everyone was pretty cool and helpful to her.  LIGHTEN UP ST. LOUIS.  Try a little joie de vivre.  Dance.  Sing.  Loosen your polos and khakis a bit (or your Roman sandals and maxi dresses in the case of this show).  Have a great time in spite of the rest of us enjoying ourselves.  You should be in a really awesome mood after getting the other concert goers kicked out anyway.

Sammychazzz
Sammychazzz

I disagree with the above review which focuses less on how outstanding the music was and more on how wrong a few people were for enjoying the show.  At one point during the second song I glanced around and to my dismay found that I was one of about seven people who were moving during the show.  I am sure that even the dour and introspective Fiona Apple appreciated the signs of life from the crowd even if you did not.  As a former touring musician I must say that a quiet room bothered me more than a boisterous room because at least I knew the fans were alive and into the music.  The person in (whatever location you said they were in, I trust you) who kept yelling during the pregnant pauses at least got smiles from Ms. Apple.  The show was fantastic and the audience, in my opinion, was not appreciative enough.  To the fans who thought the night needed a more sullen level of noise and movement, fine, it's your money...but keep in mind that 1 out of about every 6 smartphones in that place were not taking pictures, they were in a lap with hangman, facebook or whatever else on them.  Not good. Oh, and the fans that lit up...we smelled it, chuckled and that was the end of it.  I thought it was typical elitist bullshit that someone got them kicked out for it.  It's a concert.

Missy Fit
Missy Fit

Not the best review I've read.  Also, I did not see the guitar player's opening set, but I found him to be a relatively mediocre musician.  I missed being with friends both on stage and in the crowd at Riverport for El Monstero in order to attend the Fiona show and have to say that both Jimmy Griffin and Bryan Green are far, far better guitar players than the guy in Fiona's group.

Jacque Bourne-Hubbard
Jacque Bourne-Hubbard

 If only tickets had not been SO damn expensive, my ass would've been there. Tis a shame but then again, I own every album she ever made.

Steve Marshall
Steve Marshall

You are correct, Homesickorchestra. She played "It's Only Make Believe".

Jenvieve
Jenvieve

I agree with the above sentiments regarding the ill-timed shouts from the crowd. They were distracting and annoying in their persistence and didn't fit the tone of the performance. What I found truly dismaying and embarassing, however was the couple in Left Center row C who felt the need to light up a one-hit and smoke half-way through the performance. Thank you to the patrons who reported them and kuddos to the usher who wouldn't back down and escorted them out. There's a time and a place, people. Save it for The Black Crowes.

Julie
Julie

Thanks for the review! I will add my name to list of people who want to punch the (I'm sure well-meaning) mezzanine yeller.  It really wasn't that kind of show. As far as the encore goes, the cause for confusion might be because Conway Twitty's "It's Only Make Believe" has the words "one and only you" in the song, but "One and Only You" sounds completely different. She sang, "It's Only Make Believe" Saturday night in St. Louis. I promise.

Was there
Was there

She played Mississippi Nights.... Morcheeba was the opener

Kiernan Maletsky
Kiernan Maletsky

We've spent some time trying to confirm definitively which Conway Twitty song she covered as an encore. It certainly seems like she's covered "It's Only Make Believe" more frequently, but I'm inclined to trust Liz since I wasn't actually at the show. Either way: Fiona Apple played seventeen songs and one of them was a Conway Twitty cover. Read all about it. 

Laura
Laura

It was really a great concert. I've never seen her live and wasn't sure how the moodiness of her albums would translate to the stage but there was so much energy and vitality to every song. I did want to punch that girl in the mezzanine though.

Steve Marshall
Steve Marshall

The encore was actually "It's Only Make Believe" (also a Conway Twitty song"

Liz Miller
Liz Miller

Hi Redmedicne! Thanks for the comment. I'll email the RFT music editor your comment. Unfortunately the RFT didn't have a website in 1997, so we don't have records to pull from for just this sort of information.

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