Fiona Apple may be small in stature, but she is surely not meek.
The 5-foot-2-inch singer brought her summer tour to Cary’s Koka Booth Amphitheatre last night for 90 minutes of pure female fury.
Apple walked on stage in an elegant, black single-strap gown in front of about 1,500 of her adoring fans before taking her place behind a baby grand piano to spit out the lyrics of “Get Him Back,” the latest single off her 2005 album Extraordinary Machine.
She wound her way through a brief 16-song set that included material from all three of her albums. Not surprisingly, the best reactions from audience members came when she played songs off her 1996 debut Tidal, including the songs “Shadowboxer,” “Sleep to Dream” and “Criminal,” the song that made her a household name.
When she wasn’t behind the piano, Apple spent much of her time crouching low at center stage and clutching her microphone stand for support as she shouted out lyrics more often than she sang them.
During “Sleep to Dream,” Apple seemed to get so emotionally deep into her performance that as the band played the song out, she ran to the back of the stage and sat down, head between her knees.
The few times she did address the audience, she seemed to be in a trance.
“It’s beautiful here. ... It’s really beautiful here,” she told the audience with a sense of wonderment. “You never know what you’re gonna get. I spend all my time alone in a hotel room.”
But Apple rejected her fans’ sighs of pity.
“Oh, it’s not sad,” she quipped. “It’s my own choice. OK, maybe it’s a little of both.”
Though her performance may have been brief, she surely earned an “A” for effort — and the fans knew it.
“Come on, girl!” one woman cried out as Apple belted the lyrics to “Not About Love” as others whooped and cheered.
One of the things fans seem to love most about Apple is her passion — and she’s got plenty of it.