Music-Slam Concert Review – Fiona Apple @ Roseland Ballroom (02.29.2000)

There is an angry, long-winded rant about Fiona Apple’s meltdown at Roseland last Tuesday night on my hard drive right now. I’m not going to post it anymore because this shorter-winded rant is better. Fiona is not getting any sympathy from me. I’m still irate about the show and it’s been a week. That’s three hours and twenty-eight dollars that I’ll never get back. She tried to blame the sound equipment at Roseland for her poor performance, but I was standing way too close to her to believe that. Her voice was off from the opening song, which she performed in front of the piano, not the monitors she cursed at all night long. Although she wasn’t duplicating her studio sound (Fiona and her band may be known for doing just that, but anyone who comes to a concert expecting the performer to sound exactly like he/she does on their record should stay home and listen to that record.), she was still putting on a show that would have satisfied everyone in attendance if she’d simply finished her set. I’m not just talking about the rose throwing, thirty dollar T-shirt buying, name chanting teenage girls that made up the majority of the audience, either. If she wasn’t accentuating each missed note by violently turning her head to the side and screaming “FUCK!”, no one would have noticed a thing.

The crowd shouted words of encouragement as she started to crack under the pressure she had placed on herself. I cheered for her, even as she threatened the critics’ lives, choked off entire verses and forced me to watch Jimmy Fallon prance around like a jackass off stage trying to snap her out of her depression. He was the opening act and did a pretty funny parody of “What Would You Say.”* Anyway, after crying her way through Carrion” it was clear that all the sympathy and positive reinforcement in the world wasn’t going to help. Fiona had decided that sending three thousand die-hard fans home unhappy was worth avoiding the wrath of the twenty music critics in attendance. The funny thing is, she’s sure to take twice the heat for pulling this stunt than she ever would have for simply putting on a mediocre show.

And speaking of mediocre shows………..

Monday Night Raw. Tower C, row 3, seat 10. Check the seating chart. I got great seats. About three minutes into a match between tag team champs the Dudley Boyz (yes Boyz) and the New New Age Outlaws, X-Pac and Road Dogg at MSG. Bubba Ray drops the d-o-double g on his ass and sets him up for a spot that I’ve seen at least a hundred times. Bubba holds his opponent’s legs open while his “half brother” D-Von illegally (he hasn’t been tagged in) executes a diving headbutt off the second rope into the guy’s…. lower extremities. All
this happens while the referee is restraining the other opposing team member who, ironically, is informing the official that a wrongful act is being performed behind his back. Ladies and gentlemen, a 60 word description of a ten second spot. For some reason (He may have been setting up a table. I couldn’t tell from where I was sitting), D-Von isn’t on the second rope when he supposed to be. I yell “Get up there, D-Von!” and I swear no one in my section knows what the hell I’m talking about.

Without hesitation, Bubba punches Road Dogg right in the jimmy himself and goes on with the match.

Little mistakes like this were made in every match on the card, but the show never missed a beat. What’s the point of this little aside? You may think it’s a stretch, but missing a spot in a wrestling match is a lot like singing an off note. Both negatively affect the quality of a presentation, but as a professional you’re expected to overcome your mistake and go on with the performance. Only the critics will notice, and you’re not performing for them anyway. It’s all about entertaining the fans, the ones who actually paid to see you. Right, Fiona?**

*I realize now that Fallon wasn’t doing a Dave Matthews impression that night. He was actually doing a John Mayer impression two years early.

**On May 26, 2000, Fiona put on an incredible show at the Beacon Theater, more than making up for her immature and unprofessional behavior at Roseland. Her 90-minute(!) set featured almost every song from her two albums. It was obvious from the opening song that Fiona was out to prove a point. She was polished. She was professional. She danced like a dog trying to shake water off its body. It was great.

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