Amanda Palmer at the Academy – Review and Photos
Amanda Palmer selected an interesting passage for Neil Gaiman to read from her book The Art of Asking when he took to the Academy stage. The passage details a conversation she had with her husband where they share their biggest fears. Palmer’s fears all seem to revolve around what people think of her. She worries that people won’t like her or may in some way see through her. She needn’t worry. There’s nothing to see through. Amanda Palmer is real. There’s nothing fake about her and that realness is hard to find in this crazy world of rock and/or roll.
There’s a refreshing honesty about everything she does; from telling the audience she’s feeling ‘pregnant and tired and sad’ to the warmth and love that radiates between herself and Gaiman when he arrives on stage. Raw emotion seeps through the gut wrenching break-up story that is The Bed Song, she genuinely doesn’t know who Kate Nash is when given a Kate Nash plectrum by a member of audience and there’s nothing put on when she painfully spells out her fears about becoming a mother in a new song that makes an appearance towards the end of over two hours of readings, songs and questions from the audience.
The laughs are real too and there are many of them throughout the night. A cover of Garfunkel & Oates’ ‘Pregnant Woman Are Smug’ is hilarious, as is Palmer’s impression of Bono which is preceded by the biggest roar of the night – a booming ‘Yes’ when Amanda asks if it’s okay to slag off U2 in Dublin. The glasses for the Bono impression are also provided by a member of the audience, with audience participation encouraged throughout the night, particularly during the gleeful ‘fuck it’ refrain of ‘Map of Tasmania’, the finest song about pubic hair that you’re ever likely to hear.
Apart from her honesty, there’s something else that makes this show such a joy. It’s the constant reminders that art doesn’t have to be complicated. It’s something we all have in us but some of us are maybe too afraid to explore. Seeing Amanda Palmer on stage, captivating everyone with a few simple chords on a ukulele or piano and some searingly honest words is a reminder that any one of us can scribble out a poem, or sing our favourite song, or even just doodle some elaborate matchstick men on the back of cigarette packets. It doesn’t matter if it’s good or not – if it makes you happy then go and express yourself. Sadly there aren’t many artists around at the moment that make people feel that way but Amanda Palmer is one of them.
Time to dig out that guitar and annoy people at parties again so…
Photos by David Doyle
Review by Mark O’Brien