life’s to do list – one task checked off… Amanda Palmer live (warning: non bookish post!)

Today I am not sharing book news, an author interview, review or anything book related with you. No, today I am sharing something else that’s dear to my heart; music. I wanted to share with you guys my love of a singer/songwriter that many people don’t know, she is married to the fantastic, talented, awesome author Neil Gaiman so I suppose she is linked to books in a way but I loved her way before they got married, I loved her in high school, when she was one half of a favourite band back then, The Dresden Dolls. 
I am obviously talking about Amanda Palmer, but as I say, many people don’t know her… and that saddens me because I love her music and what it meant to me as a teenager. Amanda Palmer is wacky and wonderful because in all honesty, she says what she wants, does what she wants and doesn’t really care about it… however I do know some people that know who she is don’t like her, they see the wackiness and the out-there-ish-ness (yes that’s a word) as her being attention seeking. But I don’t care because she is one talented lady and makes fantastic music! 

I have a list of things I want to do before I die. Some of them will never get ticked off, others may or may not get ticked off but it’s ok, I’m not rushing to do any of them because I’m not planning on going anywhere anytime soon. In this list though there is another list, a branch if you will, which covers every band/singer I want to see live, at least once. Im very lucky in that I’ve seen all three of my favourite bands multiple times. However this list isn’t just favourite bands, its bands that have changed me, shaped me into the person I am today, been there for me when I have needed them. I have a fair few bands on this list and unfortunately at least one is VERY unlikely (The Rolling Stones, I love you but I cannot afford a trip to London and £300 per ticket to go see you…) Amanda Palmer, or The Dresden Dolls I’m not fussy I’d take either or, were on this list… Until now. 

Now I can tick Amanda Palmer off my list because finally, after close to ten years, I have finally seen her live, and it was INCREDIBLE.

On Wednesday 24th October I made my way to Manchester, I’d got tickets to go see Amanda Palmer with my sister. My sister isnt a massive fan but she’s a fan of live music in general and will quite literally go and see anything live (Though saying that I think she’d draw the line at most x-factor contestants and One Direction). The venue was a strange one, I didn’t believe it when I bought the tickets and to be honest, I didn’t believe it when we got there and walked in. The gig was palying in the Nave of Manchester Cathedral… Mind-blowing. 
We walked in and made our way to the middle of the nave. Just after we got there a Brass Band started playing – The Horn Dog Brass Band – they were awesome. After a few songs they mentioned we’d be seeing them on stage in a little while and left. Then the ‘proper’ support bands started. First up was composer Jherek Bischoff; who was brilliant! He played mostly instrumental stuff with some help from the backing violinists and cellist. His work sounded great and I will definitely be checking some of it out! Then came The Simple Pleasure who were a bit on the odd side, their stuff sounded like a mix of 80’s Adam Ant style music with Alphabeat and something else… I loved the sound of it all but I wasn’t moved by the singers voice, sorry! 

Both Jherek Bischoff and Chad Raines, singer of The Simple Pleasure, are in Grand Theft Orchestra, the band which Amanda put together for her newest album and tour and when they turned up on stage holding their Bass and Guitar, with drummer, horn and string players, I knew I’d be wowed. However the stage was kept dark, for Amanda sung a cappella before the band started, a gorgeous song sung from the Balcony above the stage with just a spotlight on her and nothing else… it was incredible. The band then played the Grand Theft Intermission song whilst Amanda came down from the balcony to join the others on stage, playing keyboard and singing. 

A few songs in the backing orchestra disappeared but the songs they joined in with were just as amazing as the others, the sound of the instruments really gained momentum by being in such an amazing venue and the music was played into the rooftops, reverberated off the walls and came crashing back down on the crowd, it was amazing. 
When we were left with just the core members of the band though, they still didn’t disappoint. The music was fantastic and you could tell all the emotions were real for all the performers, especially Amanda. 
When they played Missed Me, a Dresden Dolls song, they wooed the crowd by taking advantage of the clockwork sound and stopping the music during the song, all four members stopped dead, a note sounded, they swapped instruments, another note sounded and they picked up the song exactly where they left it. Talk about AMAZING! 

The band disappeared for Amanda to play The bed Song on her own with just the keyboard which I adored, then she played a bluesy number with just the guys from The Horn Dog Brass Band, before the rest of the band plus orchestra coming back to carry on the new Grand Theft Orchestra album. One high of the show even saw Amanda donning a jacket which had a shift type thing on it, crowdsurfing so the massive bit of material covered the crowd like a wave… I will never forget it!

I could talk about this gig all day, I am absolutely gutted that I had to leave when the real gig finished to go get my train so I didn’t see her continue the show outside the Cathedral on the street but I can image that was just as great as the rest of the night! I cannot describe how happy the gig made me and how much it will stick with me for the rest of my life, it was one of the best shows I’ve ever seen and I am seriously considering going to her next Manchester gig when she comes back in March 2013! 

  • Oh you lucky lucky person…Amanda’s one of my favourite musicians, but Dad wouldn’t take me to London. Great to see you had such a great time!