Fiona Apple has openly discussed her battles with anorexia, even claiming to have purposely lost weight to reduce the voluptuous breasts she referred to as “bait.” Thursday night in Portland, Oregon, during the opening night of Apple’s tour with Blake Mills, the 36-year-old singer-songwriter’s health was again addressed, but this time by a heckler in the crowd, prompting a spat with Apple who stormed offstage and ended the performance early.
According to Stereogum, 90 minutes into the duo’s performance at the Newmark Theatre ”someone in the first balcony yelled out, ‘Fiona! Get healthy! We want to see you in 10 years!’
"Apple, understandably, looked aghast, then hurt, then furious. She unleashed a torrent of vitriol at the unseen member of the peanut gallery. ‘I am healthy! Who the f-ck do you think you are? I want you to get the f-ck out of here. I want the house lights on so I watch you leave!"
The lights came on and as the shouter exited he added another blow: “I saw you 20 years ago and you were beautiful!”
"There was no coming back from that," wrote Stereogum’s Robert Ham. "Apple insisted she was done, spat her frustration into the microphone, and fought back tears. She pulled it together enough to perform an understandably intense version of "Waltz (Better Than Fine)" that she sang through sobs. But the wellspring of feelings burst forth again. She raged, empathized, apologized, and departed. Show over."
Perhaps the heckler had reason for worry. Apple, who has also struggled with OCD and anxiety, looks gaunt and acted odd during the concert. “Between songs, she would walk around uncertainly, sometimes confused,” the review noted. “Then she would make odd moves like bending backwards over her piano bench or flopping dramatically on the stage.” Earlier in the show, she offered this totally random stage banter: “See, Christians? You can still have a good time and keep your virginity without butt sex.”
Let’s hope the rest of Fiona’s tour, which hits Seattle tonight and continues through October, isn’t tainted by its opening night and rolls on without a hitch.