Amanda Palmer (2019)

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Amanda Palmer - Opera House, York (UK) - 04 November 2019

I must admit to having some trepidation before going to see this. I had read reports that the shows were lasting around three and a half hours, or even longer. Bearing in mind that the album this is promoting is generally personal, deep and dark, I wasn't sure I would be able to make it to the end. But things are never set in stone, are they?

Starting the show from the side of the stalls at precisely seven-thirty, she played and sang 'In My Mind' with the customary ukulele, and an attempt to write a riposte to the Irish 'Late, Late Show', who had unceremoniously uninvited her from appearing after learning she wanted to do 'Voicemail For Jill', a song about abortion. Once on stage, she said she had never been to York, so the show would be like a first date, and she didn't want to scare the audience away with her dark emotional story of the last seven years, and asked the audience to vote on whether they wanted to see the scripted show she had been doing, or a request show. The majority voted for requests, so that's what she did, and York got a unique performance.

There was a cross section of her musical career with songs from The Dresden Dolls, 'Coin-Operated Boy,' 'Half Jack' tagged on to the end of the Cranberries 'Zombie' (a song which she doesn't normally do and which she asked her tour manager to fetch her the lyrics for), and 'Delilah, 'The Bed Song' from her Grand Theft Orchestra days, which she said a lot of people had told her they had got divorced because of that song (and she also caught the lighting person out, who dimmed the lights thinking that the song had ended when it hadn't), along with her past and present solo material, including 'Ampersand' which she changed the lyrics to as she forgot them. Someone also requested 'Pirate Jenny' which she couldn't remember the lyrics to, and which she came back to later having remembered the lyrics, but then couldn't remember the chords, so she asked the audience to talk among themselves for thirty seconds, which they happily did. There were also amusing stories about her life with author and husband Neil Gaiman and their child Anthony, or "Ash" as they call him, some of the songs from the new album being about them too. To be fair, the set did contain quite a few from 'There Will Be No Intermission' which would have made up the bulk of the scripted show, and these included 'Runs In The Family', 'Drowning In The Sound' (which she told us she wrote in fourty-eight hours, at the end of which she went into Madonna's 'Like A Prayer)', the amusing 'A Mother's Confession', 'Voicemail For Jill' and final song 'The Ride' which was actually the encore, but she didn't want to go through all the rubbish of going off and then coming back again.

Actually, the show didn't drag, or feel tedious at any time. Amanda is very witty and amusing amongst all this serious life stuff. Despite the title of the tour, there was an intermission around ten o'clock, to allow people to go to the loo and get drinks, and because being out of the confines of the scripted show, she could do anything she wanted. She returned around twenty minutes later, having changed into a long, black dress, to do 'Leeds United', which she said was about a football shirt given to her from a member of the Kaiser Chiefs, who then wrote a song (I Admire You' I believe) about her. She also announced that the Dresden Dolls would be getting together for a tour next year, saying that she would hopefully get back to York for that. We look forward to another entertaining show in the future.

Review Andy B & Lou C. Photos Andy B.

Setlist: In My Mind, (a riposte to the Irish Late Late Show to the tune of "Dear Daily Mail") Ampersand, Coin-Operated Boy (Dresden Dolls), Pirate Jenny, The Bed Song (The Grand Theft Orchestra ), Runs In The Family, Zombie (Cranberries) into Half Jack, Oasis, Drowning In The Sound, A Mother's Confession, Leeds United, Delilah ( Dresden Dolls), Voicemail For Jill, The Ride

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