Review: ‘The Wallflowers; Fiona Apple’

The Wallflowers; Fiona Apple (Universal Amphitheatre; 6,251 seats; $ 25.50 top) Presented by MCA Concerts. Band: Jakob Dylan, Rami Jaffee, Greg Richling, Michael Ward, Mario Calire. Reviewed June 28, 1997. It's taken a while for the Wallflowers, the L.A.-based five piece fronted by Jakob Dylan, to pick up any momentum. They were dropped by their first label and their current multiplatinum disc, Interscope's "Bringing Down the Horse," took the better part of a year to get noticed. Now they've hit the big time, but the group's Saturday-night show certainly didn't justify the hoopla. The band's fortunes are on a fast rise these days, thanks to a couple of recent radio hits ("6th Avenue Heartache," and one of the year's best tracks, "One Headlight") and an adoring press who, like the band's fans, seem more interested in young Dylan's striking good looks and his pedigree (as Bob Dylan's son) than his mediocre roots rock. At the sold-out Universal Amphitheatre, the Wallflowers stuck pretty close to album versions of songs, and with good reason. The quintet's few stabs at spontaneity, such as vocal or guitar embellishments at the end of songs, were ill-advised and revealed the group's shortcomings. Dylan, whose voice thankfully sounds more like Bruce Springsteen's than his father's, offered little in the way of substance to back up his plaintive lyrics of longing, disappointment and disillusionment. Keyboardist Rami Jaffee's vibrant organ work was one of the evening's few interesting features, as was the mirror ball that hung above the band, a handy distraction from their bland rehash of '70s Americana. Opener Fiona Apple (WORK/Sony), she of the pouty lips and pierced navel, needs a dose of reality, and quickly, before she becomes any more popular. Her undisciplined voice and wannabe torch style were only the most obvious strikes against her. Apparently determined to follow Tori Amos down the victim's road to fame and fortune, the 19-year-old Apple, who was apparently poured into her skin-tight pants and provocative, revealing half-shirt, told the girls in the crowd that she could relate to their awkwardness with boys. "I've lived my life on the defensive," she said during one of her between-song teen-angst seminars. Actually, her life is now bordering on the offensive.

The Wallflowers; Fiona Apple (Universal Amphitheatre; 6,251 seats; $ 25.50 top) Presented by MCA Concerts. Band: Jakob Dylan, Rami Jaffee, Greg Richling, Michael Ward, Mario Calire. Reviewed June 28, 1997. It’s taken a while for the Wallflowers, the L.A.-based five piece fronted by Jakob Dylan, to pick up any momentum. They were dropped by their first label and their current multiplatinum disc, Interscope’s “Bringing Down the Horse,” took the better part of a year to get noticed. Now they’ve hit the big time, but the group’s Saturday-night show certainly didn’t justify the hoopla. The band’s fortunes are on a fast rise these days, thanks to a couple of recent radio hits (“6th Avenue Heartache,” and one of the year’s best tracks, “One Headlight”) and an adoring press who, like the band’s fans, seem more interested in young Dylan’s striking good looks and his pedigree (as Bob Dylan’s son) than his mediocre roots rock. At the sold-out Universal Amphitheatre, the Wallflowers stuck pretty close to album versions of songs, and with good reason. The quintet’s few stabs at spontaneity, such as vocal or guitar embellishments at the end of songs, were ill-advised and revealed the group’s shortcomings. Dylan, whose voice thankfully sounds more like Bruce Springsteen’s than his father’s, offered little in the way of substance to back up his plaintive lyrics of longing, disappointment and disillusionment. Keyboardist Rami Jaffee’s vibrant organ work was one of the evening’s few interesting features, as was the mirror ball that hung above the band, a handy distraction from their bland rehash of ’70s Americana. Opener Fiona Apple (WORK/Sony), she of the pouty lips and pierced navel, needs a dose of reality, and quickly, before she becomes any more popular. Her undisciplined voice and wannabe torch style were only the most obvious strikes against her. Apparently determined to follow Tori Amos down the victim’s road to fame and fortune, the 19-year-old Apple, who was apparently poured into her skin-tight pants and provocative, revealing half-shirt, told the girls in the crowd that she could relate to their awkwardness with boys. “I’ve lived my life on the defensive,” she said during one of her between-song teen-angst seminars. Actually, her life is now bordering on the offensive.

The Wallflowers; Fiona Apple

Universal Amphitheatre; 6,251 seats; $25.50 top

Production

Presented by MCA Concerts

Crew

Reviewed June 28, 1997.

Cast

Band: Jakob Dylan, Rami Jaffee, Greg Richling, Michael Ward, Mario Calire.
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