Fiona Apple encompasses everything a true artist should. She’s dazzling, angsty, and an incredibly talented performer who takes her music very seriously. In the 90s Apple gained a cult-like following, only made stronger by her seven year process to come out with a new project.
She sure returned to the tour scene with a bang. Her stage time last night at the Orpheum was split front and center with an almost death-like grip on the mic and at the piano bench with a Phantom of the Opera-like passion. Though there was a mild interaction with the audience, Apple was in her own world from the moment she began with “Fast As You Can” all the way to a true-to-the-recording rendition of “Criminal” near the end of the set.
Her backing band was brilliant. Composed of bassist Sebastian Steinberg (with a killer handle on the upright), drummer Amy Wood, Zac Rae on keys, and Blake Mills on guitar, the skilled outfit enhanced Apple’s sound without taking any of the spotlight.
Apple’s guitarist Blake Mills opened the show with his own beautifully mellow set. He kicked it off with a cover of Lucinda Williams’ “I Just Wanted To See You So Bad,” leading into his great storytelling number “It’ll All Work Out.” In a recent interview with MFR Mills told us that he is “woodshedding and experimenting” with new tunes, but it felt as if he was doing the same with the old material as well. His arguably most popular tune “Hey Lover” had an extended vocal range and blues vibe from that of the recorded version on Break Mirrors.
Mills incorporated a cover of Santo & Johnny’s “Sleepwalk” accompanied by Wood, Steinberg, and Rae and finished with a cover of “I’ll Never Do You Wrong” by Joe Tex. A highlight of this gorgeous set was Mills’ new and true to his expressive ways, “Please Don’t Tell Your Friends About Me.” Blake Mills is one of the best and most unique guitarists I have ever seen. Though it is tough to keep up, it is impossible to keep your eyes off of his swift hands.
Though an ultimately wonderful experience, I was disappointed in the amount of chatter throughout the audience during Mills’ set, and the obnoxious Fiona Apple fans that thought they were privileged enough to talk to her while she was on stage. Regardless, the performers did not let it phase them and wowed those of us who have a true appreciation for the artistry.
Also: In a tweet after the show last night Blake Mills expressed that Minneapolis was the best crowd on tour yet. Cheers everybody.
By Laura Yurich
Monday, July 16 2012
Posted 10 months ago