My Favourite Music Experience

Back when Myspace was a thing, I opened a new “friend’s” Myspace page and was greeted by a song that automatically played

when the page was viewed. The song in question was “Coin Operated Boy” by The Dresden Dolls. I was 13 years old at the

time, and my first time being exposed to the so-called “dark cabaret” genre. Yes, I’ll say it; I fell in love!

For those who haven’t been acquainted, The Dresden Dolls are Amanda Palmer and Brian Vigilone. The duo are on a hiatus

from performing together for now, and have been working on their own projects. I have been following more of Amanda’s

work throughout the years, and I finally had the chance to see her live just a few months back in Toronto. This experience

was one of the best I’ve had thus far.

Amanda Palmer and the Grand Theft Orchestra were touring to promote their album, “Theatre is Evil”. Amanda is known to

incorporate the audience into the performances, and this tour would be no exception. There was a call to submit photos

before each of the tour dates (a photo of someone you miss, a photo of a heart drawn on a body part, a photo of the street you

live on, etc.). Attendees also monitored Twitter for any further instructions; in this case, we were asked to bring black paint

and flashlights…

On the day of the show, Ryan and I arrived in Toronto a bit early to do some shopping and have a sushi dinner. We ended up

being one of the first in line when we ran out of things to do. Once in, I expected to wait long lengths of time, which was just an

estimate based on every other concert I’ve attended. I was ready to wait patiently for Amanda to come on stage (after the

opening band), so I was pretty surprised when the first thing I saw was Amanda come out to center stage in her robe. I’ll also

add that leading up to the concert date, Amanda had posted about the loss of one of her good friends, and the illness of

another. I won’t lie and say that I wasn’t concerned about the show being cancelled, but as a long-time fan, I was also

concerned about Amanda and how all of this was affecting her. I admire her very much for being so strong and continuing for

as long as she did before she had to post-pone the rest of the dates. So, seeing  her onstage, on time, with a smile on her face…I

just felt an immense amount of respect for the woman. From there started one of the best performances I had ever seen.


Something that I hadn’t realized before the show started, was that the opening performance was by Jherek Bischoff (who also

functioned as The Grand Theft Orchestra’s bassist). This performance exceeded my expectations. Jherek and his band were

so engaging, I felt a familiarity with their music that I usually only felt with artists that I have followed for a long while.

Another thing I really admired was while not performing, Amanda sat alongside the stage huddled up with her other

bandmates watching the performance. You could see the connection they shared, and it was beautiful.

Once Amanda took to the stage to perform, it was all I expected and more. She has so much energy and passion, you can’t help

but lose yourself in it as well. One of my favourite instances was a point during “Bottomfeeder”, when I knew th

2012-11-09 22.28.08

at she was about to dive into the crowd. It wasn’t so much as a dive, but a

graceful decent (please allow me to be a LITTLE cheesy, since this was

actually a spiritual experience for me from my perspective). It was

absolutely gorgeous, with her trailing dress covering the audience as she

moved through the crowd. At one point, the responsibility fell on me to

support most of her weight, and as a 5’2″ female, this was difficult but

obviously rewarding.

One of the surprises Amanda had in store was that we, the audience, would be a part of Neil Gaiman’s birthday “card”. She

then asked those who brought the supplies she had asked for to meet back stage. Once they were prepared, it was revealed

that we would all be singing happy birthday. The selected group lined up on stage with huge smiles on their faces. As Amanda

directed us all in singing a big “happy birthday”, the group on stage began to strip off their clothing, revealing letters drawn on

their chests to spell out “Happy Birthday”….well almost. Apparently a couple of them had to stay behind to help someone who

had fainted; talk about bad timing. Either way, it was immense amounts of fun, and Neil reportedly enjoyed it very much. I

also have reason to believe that the video I posted of it may have been seen first by the two.

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The show later ended with Amanda and the band appearing behind us on the balcony, and lead us in singing an acapella

version of “Want it back”. It seemed like the whole crowd got along, each accommodating for each other. I didn’t even mind

that the couple in front of me kept leaving and returning for bar runs— honest! It was the perfect live music experience, and i

am proud to be a fan of these artists. As a fan, you feel very involved with her music. To me, Amanda Palmer is the perfect

artist with all her imperfections.

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As a side note, my fiance had purchased an Amanda Palmer gift pack a couple years back, but it was missing the signed card

that was promised. He had apparently recently contacted them about it without letting me know, and I was sent an apology,

the missing card, as well as some extra goodies! It was very much appreciated.



2 thoughts on “My Favourite Music Experience

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