Fiona Apple Performs New Songs, Gets Heckled

It’s unfortunate that the first half of that headline is the more surprising news.

David Greenwald of the Oregonian published a piece this morning in which he detailed last night’s Fiona Apple and Blake Mills performance in Portland.  In the piece, Greenwald first concisely details Apple’s history and how it has led to this intimate, 15-day tour with Mills entitled “Anything We Want: An Evening With Fiona Apple and Blake Mills.”

After a bit of this interesting – but lede-burying – information, he gets into the real meat of the story: a night that had been as magical as the lofty tour title would like you to think it would be eventually turned ugly. After performing reworked hits and rarities – even debuting a new song, allegedly titled “I Want You To Love Me” and streaming on Consequence of Sound – an attendee thought it would be a good idea to say a few things.

It’s possible the attendee thought the “we” in “Anything We Want” was in reference to the concert-goers. Perhaps this person was unaware of Apple’s history. That seems unlikely given the actual comment, but regardless, it was a terrible idea.

Greenwald recounts:

But the crash came, despite Flanagan, despite the cell phone ban, despite a room that had seemed warm and welcoming for over an hour. The band had two songs left when the heckler opened her mouth.

“Get healthy, we want to see you in 10 years,” a woman called into the silence.

Apple, sitting at the piano, turned distraught.

“I am healthy,” she said, and stood up to face the audience.

The next few minutes were full of awful madness: Apple visibly emotional and swearing at the heckler, most of the crowd shouting support, but some lodging more insults. “You’re a has-been!” a man shouted from the rafters. That shook her. Mills approached her and spoke into her ear. She called for the house lights to go up and asked for the first heckler to leave. She wanted to walk off stage; for long moments it seemed like the show would end right there, all her stormy power evaporating. But the lights went down and the band did one more, cutting the ballad “I Know” from the set. That would’ve been too much. Apple, in tears, apologized and walked off, calling it “a historically stupid night.”

She also called TMZ “turd-munching zombies,” which was very funny. But it was a dark conclusion to an otherwise remarkable night, and a reminder of why Apple has fought so vocally against celebrity culture and the venomous, body-shaming judgement that comes with it.

“I’m not going to convince someone I’m healthy,” she said at one point, and whatever the state of her personal life — a life that continues to include being an unparalleled performer, between-song idiosyncrasies aside — she shouldn’t have to.

While we are all disappointed in this attendee, at least not all the news is terrible. As alluded to above, here is the audio of the new song Apple performed, courtesy of an anonymous attendee and Consequence of Sound.

Tyler Hanan
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