Honesty shouldn't be mistaken for craziness.

Photo of Fiona Apple

[Updated] I never understood how painful making music might be for Fiona Apple. It makes sense that the 35-year-old singer who found quick fame in the mid-'90s with her song “Criminal” hasn’t released new material since 2005 or toured extensively since 2007. Her songs require brutal, emotional honesty in a studio and on a stage, as proven by her set last night at House of Blues.

She didn’t play “Criminal” and refused an encore altogether despite an audience that stayed for a solid 15 minutes waiting for one. She hasn’t played the song yet on this leg of her tour, and probably won’t. Who could blame her? Last Friday, she was in a jail cell, and her crime has been in headlines all weekend. Her set began with an apology to her producer, Charley Drayton, for last week’s arrest in Texas for possession of hashish. They worked hard to put out her latest record, The Idler Wheel..., but that’s now been overshadowed by recent events, she said. Apple then assured the audience that she’s “not that fucking crazy,” in response to a video of her comments made at Friday night’s Houston show. She didn’t go out and buy locked boxes, she said. Those who took her literally should have known better.

Shortly after, she launched into “Fast As You Can.” "You think you know how crazy, how crazy I am?"she belted in her deep, sultry voice. The feisty young woman who released Tidal in 1996 had grown up, but showed throughout her set just how tumultuous her relationship with her music continues to be. She’d shriek her lyrics. She’d yell them angrily. Her soft facial expressions could just as quickly turn frustrated, her voice scatting sweet high notes, and then dropping to hit the lower ones. She fell to the ground during “Sleep to Dream,” after singing, "This mind, this body, and this voice cannot be stifled by your deviant, deviant, deviant ways" (she put a whole lot of emphasis on that ‘deviant’). She might’ve been singing songs she’d written 10 years ago, but she managed to call up those old emotions again. If anything, her Texas arrest made the entire performance seem like one big I-told-you-so. 

Update 12:03 p.m.

Apple has played "Criminal" on the tour, but isn't playing it on this leg of the tour. The text has been changed to reflect this correction.