Has the darling Amanda Palmer found the best way to open a concert? We think so, as even before the opening act, the singer arrived on stage wearing a bath robe to perform her ukulele version of the classic Radiohead tune “Creep”. No tricks: just her voice and a very excited audience. First seconds of the gig and already lots of thrills…respect!
The rest of the night stays loyal to Grand Theft Orchestra as the opening acts are none other than Jherek Bischoff and then Chad Raines with its band Simple Pleasure. A groovy rock with lots of loops, a certain American sophistication and a surefire talent that immediately seduced the audience: Jherek Bischoff’s recipe works and the audience starts to get seriously on fire.
Simple Pleasure is taking over now and the dances formally begin with a lots of appearances form tonight’s hostess, Amanda. It’s all very happy and cheerful and Chad Reines is giving it all on stage to make the public dance. Next was a totally unexpected act that Amanda has invited. Bitter Ruin, a british duo, who came to show us very simply how to break it all down in just one song. Sheer energy + a cat and mouse game between Ben and Georgia: midway between a musical gig and a theatrical performance. A true tsunami of impressive charisma!
But of course: the one we were all waiting for with impatience is the one and only Amanda Palmer. And what better way to properly start than with an excellent (future?) classic “Do It With A Rockstar”, mainly sung by the audience. But… wait a second… The gentleman behind the drum set is kind of familiar…holy hell! It’s the mighty Thor Harris who left us mightily impressed no longer than a few weeks ago when he performed with Swans at Hellfest! It’s funny to see him with a little velvet pair of shorts but, of course, that doesn’t make him any less talented. This big gentle giant is impressive and will give all the energy he’s got. And trust us, the energy is abundant, especially on the Dresden Dolls cover that pleases the audience as it should.
It’s only when the queen of the night decides it’s time that we start sliding into a more attentive and observant atmosphere with a magnificent version of “Delilah”, accompanied by Georgia of Bitter Ruin. Another moment that testifies that these people are old friends getting together for a casual gig. No plans, no big management, no guidelines… Just pure friendship and obvious pleasure to be here. A cover of the distinguished French singer Francoise Hardy? Why not, we are in Paris after all!
That’s also when Amanda Palmer decides to grip us from deep within with “Bottomfeeder” and “The Bed Song”. I have to admit that I didn’t really enjoy the studio version of this song…but the live version has completely taken me over and had myself shivering with emotion. I can also say that Amanda was herself almost in tears as well as a good part of the audience. But now back to a more festive and carefree atmosphere with two covers of the Dresden Dolls, the powerful “Girl Anachronism” as a final fireworks. It’s hard for us to admit that the concert is ending there but unfortunately the curfew restrictions of this concert hall are way too strict and prevail on Amanda’s will to continue.
Now even more famous after her TED presentation, the singer stays true to her reputation of being very close to her fans. In fact this was without a doubt one of the warmest gigs that I have had the pleasure to see in the past few years. It’s so nice to have the feeling of an unexpected performance, some sort of wild cabaret. It is perhaps the secret of Amanda’ success: the feeling that everything is possible while so many bands are too predictable and stiff in their performances. Because in the end, it’s cool to do it with a rockstar!
Thanks to Marion for her help!
Amanda Palmer (La Cigale – Paris – 07.09.2013)