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Fiona Apple and Blake Mills @ Queen Elizabeth Theatre – Toronto Live Review

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fiona apple queen elizabeth theatre October 17, 2013

Fiona Apple and Blake Mills @ Queen Elizabeth Theatre – Photo by Bobby Singh

Who: Fiona Apple and Blake Mills (Anything We Want tour)
From: Manhattan, NY
Where: Queen Elizabeth Theatre
When: Thursday October 17th, 2013

Total Score: 9.4/10

[starreviewmulti id=3 tpl=20]

It was a rainy night in Toronto, on October 17th. That and the confusing location (seriously, how does one get to Queen Elizabeth Theatre with all the construction going on?) didn’t stop the loyal fans. Queen Elizabeth Theatre is a fairly new concert hall, with cozy, but high class interior and a superb sound system. The audience was comfortably scattered over the 1,200 available seats. It was not a sold out show, but I didn’t expect it to be. The crowd mostly consisted of groups of girlfriends, couples and gay guys. The fans cheers enthusiastically all throughout the show, and it felt more like a chamber music concert than a pop act.

Fiona Apple and Blake Mills both had almost an equal amount of spotlight throughout the show, trying to implement an Apple-Mills-Apple-Mills tactic. But it was pure magic when they came together in duets. Mills’ folk-y down-to-earth approach complements Apple’s avant-garde style surprisingly well. It really felt like they were feeding off each other, bouncing ideas around and just enjoying each others company. Fiona Apple was switching between a piano, drums and a variety of bells and shakers, Blake Mills was on the guitar and they were accompanied by a stand-up bass and drums. The whole set looked very elaborate with all the instruments laying around.

There was also a chalk board behind Apple’s piano with “Teach me how to be free” written on it. The statement summed up the evening perfectly. Apple looked and felt freer. With a new short hairdo, making jokes and jumping around between the songs, Fiona Apple looked like a young girl, who isn’t aware of her sexuality yet, and so isn’t afraid to express herself in whichever way she likes. She had an air of Lolita all about her and it was captivating.

Fiona Apple’s part of the set was mostly composed of songs from her latest album The Idler Wheel…, while Blake Mills took material from all over his catalog. Apple’s voice is as strong as ever, and her range is even more evident live than it is on the record. She feels through every songs that she sings evoking anything from a lighthearted happiness to an utter despair. Blake Mills’ vocals sit in the eye of this hurricane, balancing, almost comforting Apple. And in the end, like a rainbow after a thunder storm, “Waltz (Better Than Fine)” lifted the audience to a new ground.

Overall, this is a show for a true lover of the arts and a music enthusiast. It’s the Fellini film, not a Michael Bay block-buster.

Written by: Raya P Morrison
Photo by: Bobby Singh


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