Sunday, July 23, 2006
A night to remember
I usually carry my camera with me everywhere....

But the one time I wished I had it the most... is (of course) the one time I didn't have it on me. But maybe that was meant to be. This way I would be entirely in the moment and absorbing the experience. Instead of trying to record it and viewing it behind the lens of a camera.

Yesterday was a complete surprise.

Ever since Fiona Apple's debut album back in 1996, I loved her music. Her lyrics carried me through some of my darkest and happiest moments. For 10 years I wanted to see her live on stage, but I didn't have any expectations of this actually occuring. When I discovered that she would be performing in New York on June 22nd 7:30 P.M., I started trying to figure out a way to make it happen.

But with no tickets to this concert and extremely limited finances. It didn't look like it would be happening. The lowest price for a ticket available online started at 75 dollars a piece. (way out of my price range)

That didn't stop me from leaving the house on a whim at 7:15 yesterday with my sister, Laura and Eric with the hopes of just HEARING it. I knew that Nikon theater was open air and that the music drifted over Jones Beach. You can hear it over the sounds of the crashing surf. I was content to just stand outside, close my eyes and pretend I was inside. I figured we could drink, sing along and walk across the shore. It could be a once and a lifetime opportunity. Who is to say when she would tour again and even if she would? It seemed crazy, since it was pouring rain. We knew we had a long drive to look forward to and dark threatening clouds loomed overhead.

I didn't care if it WAS crazy, I had my mind set. Carpe Diem.

Damien Rice was the opening act and when we arrived he was wrapping up his performance. I could hear the violins and his gentle voice as soon as we stepped out of the car at 8:25 P.M., The rain had stopped.

"Maybe we should just see if there are any tickets available..." I said to Eric "Just check out the prices.."

That's when we were approached by a family group led by two older men with dark hair. "Do you need tickets?", the man asked "I have 2 tickets... best seats in the house. They're worth a hundred each. Those friends didn't show, We're about to go in right now... I don't want to miss Fiona. This is her stepfather." He pointed to the man beside him. The man smiled kindly.

I have to confess. I was skeptical. I didn't want to be played for a fool. My sister muttered with a smirk "oh yeah, I'm friends with Fiona too.."

"Are those real tickets?", I gazed down at the crumpled up "e-tickets" printed out from the internet. It looked like a scam to me.

"Yes, It would be shame for them to go to waste." Fiona's "Stepfather" said. "We'll walk in with you, but if you want them... you'll have to go in now."

"But we're a group of three", I said protectively taking Eric's hand. "I'm not leaving him out of the loop"

"I'm afraid I only have 2 tickets" He said shaking his head regretfully. "Nevermind, I figured I would give it a shot. We have to head in now"

Eric quickly said "Would you take 20$ each for those 2 tickets?"

"Yes, sure", Fiona's stepfather responded "That would be fine but I really need to go in now. I can't miss this show.."

"Eric we're not leaving you!", I interjected

"Clarity.." Eric said looking into my eyes. "Take those two tickets, You and your sister go inside. I will meet you in there. Just go. Don't let this once and a lifetime opportunity go to waste."

I hesitated. "No..we'll just wait for 3 tickets and then-"

"GO!", Eric urged.

I gave him a passionate kiss and he squeezed my arm with a smile. We followed the men behind the gates, into the concert arena. Then we thanked them and we separated.

"We're in!!!", I was still in a state of disbelief. I didn't even imagine getting in at all..and not for such a cheap price. It seemed a little too good to be true. "Okay... let's see where these *supposed* "best seats in the house" are actually located"

We found the right section, and we were greeted by Guard after Guard. Each one directed us closer and closer to the stage. I gave my sister a side-long glance of surprise. The final guard led us directly up to the the CENTER...and placed us in the second row. We sat down in utter shock. Never in my life was I this close in a concert... Damien Rice was performing his last song. He was only feet away from us..we had a clear view of him up close, the entire stage.. This was V.I.P.!

At the start of Intermission Fiona's stepfather approached us. "Do you like the seats?"

I was speechless. I started thanking him and expressing my shock. He smiled "Enjoy the show" and went to the aisle across from us.

It's hard to even describe my euphoria...I can't. I thought I was dreaming...

Fiona Apple came onto the stage slowly. Her head was down, hair hanging over her face and she was in shadow. She walked timidly and sat down in front of the piano. She cleared her throat like a mouse... Everyone was silent.

Then she began to slam her powerful fingers down on the piano with such force and passion. Her Gusty voice carried. It was windy outside, (the remnants of the passing storm) and her hair flew around her face. She trembled when she sang and she put her entire heart into it. It was so raw..She didn't just play her piano, she hammered it, beat it, slammed it.

When she stood up to the microphone, she had such a presence. Her dress was moving with the wind and she was only 5 or 6 feet away. She screamed like Janis Joplin, whipped her microphone cord back and forth. She danced like a teenager does in their bedroom when they think no one is watching. Head back, arms out...thrashing, kicking...with her eyes closed. She fell to the floor and slammed it with her fists. Sometimes she was fluid in her movements and almost in slow motion but othertimes she was jerking, shaking and raging. It was spontaneous, real, in the moment and emotional outbursts. When she sang about felt it it. When she sang about felt your own chest ache. You couldn't tear your eyes away, you couldn't even breath.

The passion and pain in her voice brought tears to my eyes. To see her performing live all these songs that accompanied the events in my life..

I was a teenager again..and then I was in college again..I was re-living the pain of my first break up..the flush of first love.. the agony of death...Her performance was heartstopping. It was like witnessing a breakdown and witnessing ecstacy. We were so close that I thought I have to be watching this on T.V or I was hallucinating. It was surreal. (Dom witnessed Fiona Apple performing in the same tour earlier this season in Chicago, Click here to read his entry on the experience)

But the moment that really knocked the wind out of me was this..

She began talking to the audience..and she said "Tonight is a special night for me. Someone very special and dear to me is in the Audience today. My Stepfather is here. Please cheer for him"

She called out to him, and sure enough...Our ticket seller answered her, with a pet name "Feanut". She started laughing and pointed to him. "There you are!"

Laura and I slowly turned to eachother in shock. It WAS her stepfather!

She made references to him all through out the rest of the show.

At the end of the show, Her stepfather called out to us. "You didn't believe me, did you?", He teased.

I smiled at him. I pressed my hand over my heart and cried out "THANK YOU". Then I blew him a kiss with both hands. He smiled back. It just goes to show you, sometimes you have to trust in the good of people and believe.

Then we headed out.

We met up with Eric outside (It turns out: He was able to see the show as well and enjoyed it, but he was seated in a different section) "WHAT?! wait a minute...So that really WAS Fiona's stepfather and he spoke to you afterwards?! Why didn't you hang out with him and go backstage to meet her!? He would have taken you, He seemed like such a cool guy! I can't believe you blew that opportunity to meet your favorite singer!"

"I wanted to get back to you. An experience like that wouldn't have felt right without you, besides I'm happy I was able to see that concert. THAT was a dream come true. I didn't need more. I haven't felt this happy in a long time."

But all the praise Fiona Apple heaped on her Stepfather rang true. He's a wonderful man and he made it possible for me to have the time of my life.

Thank you Robert.

My sister and I used to listen to Fiona Apple in her bedroom. We would sing along, drink, talk about life and sometimes just lay on the floor. We grew up together with her music and this meant a lot to both of us.

These haven't been the easiest times for us lately, but I think this marks the beginning of a turn around. The bliss from last night's concert hasn't faded, even though it's the next day. I realize I'm here in New York for a reason. My experience here is important.

It's been a really rocky road, But when all is said and done....It's good to be home.
posted by Clarity25 at 1:37 PM |


At July 23, 2006, Anonymous Lisa 

That's so cool!! I'm so happy that you were able to have that experience! What a crazy night that must have been! I met Jewel backstage once and had received V.I.P. tickets. I'll never forget how happy I was:).

At July 23, 2006, Anonymous TickTrix 

This made me cry. What a great weekend!

At July 23, 2006, Blogger vla 

awesome. all my love to you, girl!

At July 24, 2006, Blogger Tara 

Why is it every time you go to Jones Beach it rains?

At July 24, 2006, Anonymous dom 

Clarity, i'm so glad you got to go see Fiona! Sounds like her show was just as amazing as the Chicago performance, but you got right up front and hung out with her family! If she meant as much to you as she did to me growing up, then I know the show was just what you needed. Next time we'll all have to go together! ;)

At July 24, 2006, Anonymous allonpaper 

I love Fiona, too. What a beautiful experience.

At July 24, 2006, Anonymous GdP 

Dude, good things happen to good people.

At July 24, 2006, Blogger Stacia 

That is just amazing! I'm so glad you followed your heart and just did it.

At July 24, 2006, Anonymous Tenshi 

Awesome. :)

At July 24, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous 

That's so weird that your previous entry was started with "this is fiona". What a cool experience. - Acorn

At July 24, 2006, Anonymous Kiosh 

Just want to say you two are very dear to me and that I am sending you much love and positive vibes. =0)

At July 24, 2006, Anonymous Janet 

I'm so glad you got to go to the concert -- it was just meant to be! I have loved Fiona Apple sincer her first album and Paper Bag is one of my favorites, that and First Taste. Sounds like an amazing night, a night you definitely needed.

At July 24, 2006, Anonymous Ricky 

Clarity, your life is like a Winona Ryder movie. Only with all the between the lines stuff filled in. And that's kind of cool. :-)

"Lelaina:: I just don’t understand why things just can’t go back to normal at the end of the half hour like on the Brady Bunch or something.
Troy:: Well, ‘cause Mr. Brady died of AIDS. Things don’t turn out like that.
Lelaina:: I was really gonna be something by the age of 23.
Troy:: Honey, the only thing you have to be by the age of 23 is yourself.
Lelaina:: I don’t know who that is anymore.
Troy:: I do. And we all love her. I love her. She breaks my heart again and again but I love her."
-Reality Bites

At July 25, 2006, Anonymous Xanti 

That had to be such an awesome experience! Not only to see Fiona Apple AND Damien Rice, but to have gotten your tickets from her stepfather? When does that happen? I'd say it's definitel a night to remember! And as gdp said, good things happen to good people, and you are definitely one of the good people!

At July 25, 2006, Blogger Kathleen 

I'm such a wuss, this brought tears to my eyes. I'm glad you got to catch the show and with such good seats!

At July 27, 2006, Anonymous Megan 

I'm so jealous... :)

At July 29, 2006, Blogger warcrygirl 

That is awesome! So, did Eric get his Joisey t-shirt? You know, the one that says "Kiss her where it smells, take her to New Jersey!" So, did it really smell?

At July 30, 2006, Blogger Bart's Camille 

What a once-in-a-lifetime kind of thing. I think that is so terrific. I have been looking through your blog and I really enjoy your imagery.

Take care,