10 years worth the wait: Seeing Fiona Apple in concert

Let me take a break from my travel tales to tell you how I recently fulfilled one of my lifelong dreams.

I saw Fiona Apple in concert.

When I was a young moping teenager of 13 years old, a pen-pal of mine mailed me her first CD, Tidal.

I hated it. Despised it.

But then during my troubled teenage angst, I discovered that one of her songs, Sullen Girl, was about Fiona’s experience with sexual assault. My extremely impressionable brain was fascinated by her lyrical genius, and from then on, I’ve been hooked.

Is that why they call me a sullen girl? They don’t know how I used to sail the deep and tranquil sea
But he washed me ashore, and he took my pearl, and made an empty shell of me
Head over heels.

My taste in music is diverse and eclectic. One minute I’m listening to Flo-Rida, the next, Conway Twitty. I typically never purchase full albums from artists because I usually only like a handful of their songs.
BUT with Fiona, it’s different. I own every album (all four of them!) and I know every song and every lyric and every timing of every note.

So one day, a few months ago, someone shared a link on my Facebook wall about Fiona’s new album to be released in June. At that point, she hadn’t put out anything new in seven years.

I tweeted the article. I received one response: “I’m so excited. I’m seeing her in July, in Toronto!”
I flipped out, and tweeted back something nonsensical like, “OMG WHEHRN AND WHERWH IS SHE PLAYIF?”

Five minutes later I had procured two tickets for myself and one of my best friends, Lesley. In fact, Fiona Apple just so happens to be one of the reasons we’re such great friends — we’re basically two of the few remaining obsessed fans in the Fiona fandom.

This is the actual text conversation.

Fast forward to July 3rd when I’m headed to Toronto after my brief jaunt in Europe, listening to Fiona’s new album, The Idler Wheel. It’s fucking awesome. Like, probably her best album yet.

Start here if you’re gonna start anywhere. And then fast forward to about 1:40. That part gets me every time.

Lesley and I reunited in Toronto for the special occasion.

We got to the Sound Academy pretty early, claiming our stake at the front of the stage. I literally could not believe my 10 year musical obsession was about to appear in the flesh.

And then…there she was. Fiona!

It was…amazing. Unreal. We cried, laughed, sang along. Everyone in that small crowd was a dedicated fan. Even men. A tall man wearing a sequined shirt practically sobbed the whole way through the performance, and from the audience, people shouted “Thank you, Fiona!” Fiona, always the elusive and antisocial homebody, never once addressed the crowd or even introduced her band. Nobody cared.

Why? Because even with all the “musicians” and “entertainers” out there, Fiona’s talent is so real it almost unbelievable. She’s a triple threat: poet, pianist, singer. It’s not just her melody that kills me, it’s the written word.

And even in a world of paparazzi and social media and bloody ridiculous article headlines like “Royal family upset over magazine using intimate pics of Will-Kate honeymoon” (seriously, WHO CARES?) she’s managed to stay out of the spotlight and do her own thing.

When it was all over, devastated as we were, happy fans hugged everywhere. 10 years was well worth the wait.

The t-shirts were worth it too.

(Most of you will appreciate this video.)

*SIDE NOTE: If the two arseholes who stole our spot near the stage and then proceeded to chatter about mundane shit for an hour are reading this, if I ever see you again, I will kick you both in your respective boxes.

  • July 13 2012

    Candice, how we envy you. So many of us are yet to see Fiona perform live and we’re restricted to reading reviews (yours is good). Seems like Fiona gigs are like family reunions. I’m glad you highlighted Sullen Girl. Those lyrics are the most beautiful portrayal of a brutally ugly event I can imagine. I don’t know how she found the strength to write them. I’ll say nothing about White Doves’ Feathers though it’s a shame she isn’t performing that song in what seems to be a rigid set, or Never is a promise, or Red, Red, Red, my personal favourites. Cheers.

    • July 17 2012

      Oh no, I hope you get to see her at some point! I’ve been reading up on reviews and interviews with her lately. I’d kill to sit down and actually chat with her. The last one I read was a Rolling Stones interview from when she was 20 years old. Killed me.

  • July 17 2012

    Nothing like finally seeing that person you’ve been dying to see! To be honest, I didn’t know she was still around!

  • July 17 2012

    I’m a big fan of hers too! How exciting you got to see her live!!!

  • July 17 2012

    I love Fiona Apple, too! I have her three albums, Tidal, Extraordinary Machine and When the Pawn. Like you, I also worship her lyrics. I envy you that you’ve watched her live. I’m sure she was awesome. How long was the concert?

    • July 24 2012

      You must get her newest album, I think it’s my fav! The concert was about 90 minutes…I could have stayed another 90, I think :)

  • July 18 2012

    Amazing! So glad you got to see one of your written heroes live. It’s so satisfying when the wait is finally over.

  • July 20 2012

    Love when im in your blog! Makes me feel famous :)

  • September 03 2012

    I wish I got that excited about anything! I feel like the only thing that could excite me as much as you were over fiona apple concert would be LM Montgomery coming back from the dead and writting more Anne boks…

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