With Fiona Apple's first new album since 2012, Fetch the Bolt Cutters, finally here, normally we'd be looking forward to the announcement of tour dates supporting it. Fiona has rarely done a huge amount of touring, but she usually does support a new album with shows, and her comments earlier this year had us hopeful she would this time, too. But with touring not an option for anyone right now, we're celebrating Fiona Apple Album Release Day with videos we love of five previous performances she'd done instead. Road worrier or not, Fiona has been a captivating live performer from the beginning, and these sets all prove that.
Fiona Apple @ Sessions at West 54th, November 22, 1997
Recorded in the year after the release of her debut album Tidal, and a few months after her iconic "this world is bullshit" speech while accepting the MTV VMA for Best New Artist in August of 1997, this NYC studio performance happened while Fiona was still too young too drink, as host Chris Douridas points out. She sounds incredible, though, particularly on a raw and heart-rending rendition of "Never is a Promise," which, as she notes, she wrote when she was 15. The between-song interview clips are also particularly illuminating, including Fiona saying, at one point, "I'm so tired of trying to say things to people and having them not listen."
Fiona Apple @ Stony Studios, October 29, 1999
About a week before the release of her sophomore album When The Pawn..., Fiona played one of just a few shows she'd do in 1999, back at the same studio where she'd done the Sessions at West 54th show two years earlier. This time she was performing an album most of the audience hadn't heard yet, and unsurprisingly the cheers were loudest for Tidal tracks "Criminal" and "Sleep to Dream." From the vantage point of hindsight, though, the spiky, intense songs from When The Pawn come vividly to life here, even moreso considering it was Fiona's first live performance in a while.
Fiona Apple @ Greek Theater, June 24, 2006
The release of Fiona's third album Extraordinary Machine was preceded by a year when fans campaigned for Epic to "free Fiona" and Jon Brion-produced versions of the songs circulated on file sharing sites. Fiona was reportedly unhappy with the initial production of the tracks and when it finally did come out in 2005, the production had been redone by Mike Elizondo and Brian Kehew. The tour that followed included this show at LA's Greek Theater in June of 2006, with an incredibly loaded setlist featuring highlights from all three albums.
Fiona Apple @ Greek Theater, September 14, 2012
2012 found Fiona back on the road for the first time in a few years, supporting her fourth album, The Idler Wheel... From the raw, intense performances she gave, though, you wouldn't have known she'd taken time away; the shows were fervent and vital, incorporating her new material seamlessly with the old. This Greek Theater show from 2012 had two more songs than there is video for, but most of the show is preserved, in order, in this playlist.
Fiona Apple @ Ohana Festival, September 9, 2017
One of the most recent shows Fiona played was this 2017 set at Dana Point, CA's Ohana Festival. Without a new album to promote she did a spate of covers, including Frank Sinatra's "I'll Be Around," The Brains' "Money Changes Everything," Conway Twitty's "It's Only Make Believe." She also performed an unreleased song, "Tipple," gave the theme from Showtime's The Affair its live debut, and turned a cartwheel onstage. The set itself is a rare tweet, and this video captures most of it.
We've been posting a selection of our favorite live videos every weekday during quarantine. For more, head here.