An Evening With Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer at the Vogue Theatre, Vancouver Nov 6, 2011
– review by Kent Hurl/photos by Anja Weber
One wonders what it might be like to take one’s honeymoon on a West Coast tour. That’s kinda of what Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer are doing as the pretty much just-married couple landed in Vancouver for An Evening With Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer at the Vogue Theatre.
One also wonders what exactly to expect from a stage show mixing the talents of a prolific author who inspires a Tumblr about his hair and a piano-slaying, ukelele-playing singer/songwriter with painted eyebrows.
Let’s just say there was a lot of love going on at the Vogue Nov. 6. The love flowed from the stage to the crowd. And that love flowed right back from an enthusiastic audience not shy to cheer and whistle all night long. Palmer labelled us a “fucking fantastic audience,” so it must be true.
The newlyweds opened with a duet of “Makin’ Whoopie” (which makes an appearance on Palmer’s 2010 release Down Under), a great song to break in everyone to the fun that was to come over the next three hours.
It was plain to see the couple has a lot of fun performing together. They have an endearing way of communicating and each seems comfortable with both their pairing and individuality – they just laughed when Palmer lifted her dress and flashed us her panties. Neil’s response: “Posterity has seen your knickers. Again.” Hers: “When you call them knickers, it’s just not dirty.”
After “Whoopie”, Gaiman read three poems, including one called “Observe The Formalities”. And it went on like that for the whole show… some Neil, then some Amanda, then some more of them together – either singing or sitting in their Golden Girls-ish wicker chairs and answering fan questions like, “Dear Neil, is it hard for you to creatively express character types like pedophiles in your writing, why or why not?” (He answered “No”, by the way.)
Palmer rattled off her influences (Beatles, Beach Boys, Prince, Madonna, Cyndi Lauper) and claimed to recently realize the need to acknowledge another… Judy Blume. With that came a piano song both funny and sad. I’ve never heard anyone sing about Deenie or Margaret’s conversations with God before. It was surprising to me and totally welcomed by the audience.
She also offered a stirring tribute, on her little red ukelele to Ashlie, a 20-year old-woman who died Saturday at Occupy Vancouver [Gaiman and Palmer had led a contingent of fans to the site earlier that afternoon, following their “ninja gig” at a Gastown shoe store].
On a different note, Palmer’s ukelele also fuelled “Gaga Palmer Madonna”. A clever ditty on what defines pop art and whether pop artist Lady Gaga is a “friend or foe,” it’s a necessary reminder to just “like what you like” and to not take pop music too seriously.
Video – Amanda Palmer, “Gaga Palmer Madonna: A Polemic” (live at Joe’s Pub, NYC, 2011):
More photos from An Evening with Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer in Vancouver: