by Erinn Fortson
Fiona Apple and Blake Mills performed for a packed Merriam Theater on Saturday night. Appropriately titled the “Anything We Want” tour, Apple and Blake have been traveling from city to city, introducing audiences to a varied set list filled with a lot of new and some older material. This weekend was Philadelphia’s turn to experience Apple and Blake’s innovative live collaboration as the two musicians performed whatever they wanted and proved to fans that they really could do anything.
The show began with Mills piggybacking Apple on stage, as the two were welcomed with thunderous applause. Apple and Mills then stood on either side of a board and rhythmically wrote the words “Teach me how to be free”, momentarily substituting their piano and guitars for pieces of chalk. It was a great lead into the opening song, “Tipple”, which is one of the new tracks from Apple and Mills. In addition to their partnering duos, Apple and Mills took turns sharing the stage for solo performances.
It’s been 17 years since Tidal was released and Fiona Apple is still brilliant. She has the power to truly captivate listeners both on and off stage. It’s her live performances, though, that really showcase how talented Apple is. An utter genius on the piano, she can bring emotion to any song through her intense vocals and lyrics. The audience could certainly feel that at Merriam Theater this weekend. Apple performed a few tracks from the critically acclaimed Idler Wheel, such as “Every Single Night” and “Left Alone”. Apple also did a powerful version of “Dull Tool”, which is a track she contributed to Judd Apatow film, This Is 40.
When he wasn’t backing up Apple with electrifying riffs on the guitar or joining her in song, it was Mills in the spotlight, playing his music for the audience. After leaving Dawes, the band he co-founded with friend Taylor Goldsmith, Mills set out on his own and began a solo career that has immensely taken off. His talents have spoken for themselves and people are really beginning to recognize just how much of an accomplished musician and producer Mills is. Saturday’s performance echoed this artist’s musical gifts and showed Philadelphia that Mills is capable of doing so much on stage. Singing songs like, “It Will All Work Out” and “Don’t Tell Our Friends About Us”, one of his collaborations with Apple, Mills really shined throughout his performance.
The concert ended with Apple singing, “Waltz (Better Than Fine)” and holding a bouquet of flowers that were brought to her on stage. Audience members also shouted praises to both Mills and Apple during the performance. “Love you Fiona!” and “You’re awesome Blake” were just some of the comments voiced from attendees.
The beginning of the “Anything We Want” tour had a bumpy start in Portland, with complications arising from a disgruntled spectator. It seems as though Mills and Apple’s stop in Philadelphia, however, was a great one. This city’s fans were more than happy with the show and weren’t shy in expressing their appreciate to Apple and Mills.