Fiona Apple at the Santa Barbara Bowl

Paul Wellman

Fiona Apple at the Santa Barbara Bowl

Fiona Apple at the Santa Barbara Bowl

Music’s Saltiest Songstress Wowed Fans on Wednesday, September 12

Fiona Apple is a polarizing creature. To fans, she’s one of the rawest, smartest, bravest songwriters of our time. To haters, she’s too angry, too wordy, too skinny to be an enjoyable listen. No matter where you stand, though, Apple in the flesh is a force to be reckoned with, and a talent that’s tough to deny.

On Wednesday night, the eve of her 35th birthday, the petite singer took to the stage at the Santa Barbara Bowl to an audience of mostly female superfans. With the crowd under thumb and her bandmates firmly in place, she bounded to her grand piano to pound out the breakneck opening bars of “Fast As You Can.” Apple remained seated for the loungey “On the Bound” and sultry “Shadowboxer,” her feet flailing as she belted her way through the night’s slower numbers. Before long, though, the piano bench was abandoned for the mike stand, which gave Apple ample room to shake, shimmy, and convulse her point across. Newer cuts like “Anything We Want” and “Periphery” made for some of the set’s more memorable moments, as Apple’s determined voice fluttered, then growled over tension-filled piano chords. Later, “Werewolf” stilled the room with its punctuated chorus, which Apple whispered and roared to equal ferociousness. The night ended sans encore with a cover of Conway Twitty’s “It’s Only Make Believe,” proving that even in ’50s-dream-pop mode, Apple can fell a room with her vocal range—not to mention deliver a sad song that still, somehow, managed to cut like a knife.


1. “Fast As You Can”

2. “On the Bound”

3. “Shadowboxer”

4. “Paper Bag”

5. “Anything We Want”

6. “Get Gone”

7. “Periphery”

8. “Sleep to Dream”

9. “Extraordinary Machine”

10. “Werewolf”

11. “Left Alone”

12. “I Know”

13. “Every Single Night”

14. “Daredevil”

15. “Not About Love”

16. “It’s Only Make Believe” (Conway Twitty cover)

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