So I saw her in concert the other night. The opening act was her guitar player, coming onstage casually late at about 8:03. The schtick was he'd play a few, and then be joined by Fi's drummer, then bassist, then keyboard player. It worked, in that we were spared an opening act we probably wouldn't care for, her band got the exposure and appreciation they deserved (largely responsible for how awesome Fi is live), and they got to warm up. They played for about 35 minutes, nothing too memorable (the guitarist's first song was just repeating I can't wait to see you again over and over again ... okay).
Fi too was casually late. A couple minutes after 9 all the lights in the house darkened and she immediately went into
1) Fast As You Can
Holy SHIT, that was amazing live. I think it was the shock of hearing the sound come live from someone I had admired so much that wrenched a couple tears out of my ducts, and the effect lingered for the next few songs. The light show that accompanied this song was perfect, and the trend would follow through most of her other performances.
2) On the Bound
It was after this song that she first addressed the audience about what happened in Texas. She wore a ratty white t-shirt with some words written on it in black Sharpie:
Apparently he's some sort of local hero and she stressed to write and learn about him.
4) Paper Bag
5) Anything We Want
6) Get Gone
8) Sleep to Dream
9) Extraordinary Machine
11) Left Alone
12) I Know
Idiot drunks kinda ruined this one because it was so quiet so there were plenty of silences during which to yell out shit.
13) Used to Love Him - rock out jam at the end by the band. Very enjoyable little session there.
14) Every Single Night
She fucked this song up beautifully. Imagine if you will a more casual venue, standing room only, though, with bar sections to the immediate back left, far left, far back, and side right. Each of these setups have flatscreen TVs displaying advertisements on them. So she's made it fifteen songs into her set but something is gnawing at her. And she's singing:
"Doooon't let me....
FUCKING TVs OFF."
Raucous applause. She says "whoa, I really fucked that one up," and when she gets to the hook again, she's all, in with the time, singing, "I'm going to have to sing. that. one. a. gain."
She gets to the end and bangs the everloving fuck out of the kettle drums to help with the percussion, then addresses the audience. "If I find that you wrote about my little antics and not about Bill Addington, I will find you and I will be fucking mad at you and you will be fucking awful at your job." By this time though, yeah, all the TVs are off. Heh.
16) Not About Love
Then, finally, and wholly shit, this was the song I was waiting for. So glad I got to hear this live. I believe to this point it's her magnum opus, beating out Paper Bag. I don't know if it was my imagination, but this song sounded much more like the leaked version than the fucked up album one. She was riding high on adrenaline and piss and spit and venom and all that good shit, and it turned into one of the best performances I'd ever seen. She hit every beat, and when she to the chorus she really belted it out:
"...and it doesn't make sense I should fall for a king craft of a meritless crown
and it doesn't seem right to take information given at close range for the gag and the bind and the ammunition round."
BIG PAUSE here. The crowd cheers at the silence.
"THIS IS NOT ABOUT LOVE."
...then 32xspeed-ish, better than the Micro Machine man could ever hope to do.
A SUPER MEGA EPIC PAUSE. She held, and the band sat with her for what had to be 30 seconds. Whooping and hollering, this time totally deserved. "We love you, Fiona."
Then, and then, and then...
Fiona belts out at the top of her lungs, louder than you thought it was possible for someone to yell.
THIS IS NOT ABOUT LOVE.
Holy shit, she just blew the whole place away.
'CAUSE I AM NOT IN LOVE.
IN FACT I CAN'T STOP FALLING OUT...
She the addressed the audience one final time. "I apologize for being rude. I realize it's hard to turn off 40 TVs. I'm just a little cranky because I've been up for 2 days, and I have a fucking felony charge."
She rambled a little bit about how she was told not to say anything before she came on stage, and she was like "whatthefuck? I have a stage and I'm gonna shut up? I'm singing my song, and they can't arrest me for singing."
17) She closed with some song I don't know. From doing a search of the lyrics, it looks like Conway Twitty's "It's Only Make Believe". I have no idea what the fuck that was about.
She again stressed, please don't write about my antics, write about Bill Addington. So yeah, google him. Or something. :)
No Encore. Lame. But 17 songs and a fight with technology for ($43 + $13)? I'll take it.
Best moments: Fast As You Can, Sleep to Dream, Extraordinary Machine, Fiona VS. TV, Not About Love
Lowlights: Ubiquitous Mr. Drunk Guy, always there to ruin the experience for everyone else. Creepy Personal Space Invaders. No Criminal or Hot Knife -- though I have no clue how she'd do it live -- I guess the band would do, those talented fucks.
The verdict: Despite the pricetag, and the standing room bullshit, it was well worth it. I've seen Modest Mouse (before everyone and his brother liked them thus ruining their shows' enjoyability), Radiohead (yawn), Wolf Parade (yeah), Sunset Rubdown (whoo ... RIP), the list goes on, and I can't remember being more taken by the QUALITY of the live performance. Fiona and her band were on fire that night, fueled of course by anger and passion, and it made the excursion well worth it. If you ever had any sort of admiration for her you'd do well to see her live when you can. It's an experience.