Wednesday, April 10, 2013
An Evening with Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer
It starts with a spotlight on the right balcony. A ukulele is being strummed softly. And there she is, Amanda [expletive] Palmer, as that's how she's called. She croons in her wonderfully clear voice, not one of her recent songs or even one of her hits. She takes a step back in time and sings an old tune, Making Whoopie.
Spotlight to stage, and there is Neil Gaiman standing at the microphone and he's singing the second verse. Watching the two of them sing this duet seems so intimate, like they're only singing to each other while we watch from the shadows.
At first glance, you'd have to wonder how these two seemingly different people met and fell in love. The meeting part is simple, through a friend's suggestion and email correspondence, but seeing them together, you can understand exactly how they fell in love.
They're both two incredibly gifted artists. She is all about feeling and he is all about thinking, but together, she seems to make him feel more and he seems to make her think more and they make it work. They are charming and funny and beautiful together.
It's a very intimate evening. Amanda is wearing an oriental dressing gown, like a kimono, over a black and white striped dress, the stripes going every which way. She is wearing black stockings and black heels, but classic looking, with a strap over the top of the foot. Perhaps something the Andrew sisters would have worn. The shoes, not the dress. Neil was all in black, as he always is.
Neil did some readings, including a short story called Down to a Sunless Sea he just wrote a week and a half ago and has never read to an audience. He read a couple older pieces, a few newer pieces, a couple of which have also never been read to a live audience before, and one piece that Amanda requested he recite because she likes it...For Amanda. Amanda was brilliant on the piano. She sang some of her songs, including one brand new song she just wrote and has never performed. She also accompanied Neil while he sang, which is something I never thought I would ever see him do live on stage; the song one he wrote. There was also a question and answer session, the questions from white cards left in the lobby; some for Neil alone, some for Amanda and some for both.
It was probably one of the most amazing live performances I have ever seen and I feel incredibly fortunate to have been able to go and to share the evening with my brother and his wife. All thanks to hubby and his amazing net surfing skills, or perhaps just his attention to Facebook. The show sold out in minutes, and I'm not talking 60+, I mean like 5.
There was no talk of future projects. No updates on The American Gods HBO miniseries, or the new Sandman story, or a new Dr Who episode. The only mention was Neils's new book, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, which is due out June 18 and is already on order.
The evening was just a conversation between the two, shared with the audience, about writing, music, words, feelings and thoughts; a little look into their lives and who they are, and it was brilliant.