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12 July 2013 @ 11:14 pm
we're bigger on the inside  
I have never been to gig like Amanda Palmer and the Grand Theft Orchestra at the Ritz last night, but then I've never been to an Amanda Palmer gig before.

The night starts, as these things do, with a queue. I have a habit of talking to random strangers, especially in queues, and the friend that I've persuaded to come with me hasn't arrived yet, so I chat a lot. (My friend is a music lover, remembered Amanda from her Dresden Dolls days, and was persuaded to come and keep my company.)

Once inside I managed to get to the front near two sisters. (The gig is the younger sister's 18th birthday present. The older sister is studying musical composition, plays piano and sings, and teaches rock and roll to kids in schools as a part time job.)

We've been waiting for only 45 minutes when Amanda appears on the balcony upstairs wearing a kimono, ukulele in hand. The Ritz is a small venue - there were about 1,000 people there last night - with a flat standing area downstairs and a wrap-around small upstairs balcony where people can sit down, and where the people who were already sitting down look surprised to see the headline artist suddenly appear amongst them to say hi and serenade us all.

She then proceeds to introduce the first of the warm-up acts and joins in with some of them. Those that aren't quite for me are still fun, because I can't help but appreciate the enthusiasm and joy in performing that they all have. They all look like they want to be here. One act though, Bitter Ruin, I am an instant convert to. And there is no gap between the warm-up acts. In fact, they aren't really warm up acts at all when there's a flow between them and Amanda is popping in and out, and I feel like I've been invited to join a night of music making, not just to watch some people play from a distance. I feel welcome.

There's a ten minute break to reset the stage, during which I chat with complete strangers. Again. Well, I say complete strangers, but by this point I've met a fair few, and then introduced my friend (who arrived during the initial ukulele serenade confused as to why things were happening already and not on the stage) to all of them. Now Amanda invites us to get to know each other in that ten minutes. And the relaxed crowd does. Random people all just chatting about all sorts. We feel like we know each other; that we're allowed to.

Then the main event kicks off. Usually at this point in a gig everyone crowds to the front, the pushing starts, and often people get less than friendly as things turn competitive. I wasn't looking forward to that bit considering the heatwave we have here at the moment and how hot we already were. But no. Amanda comes to us, over the rail and into the crowd, dancing with everyone as she sings. FOR A WHOLE THREE SECONDS I DANCE WITH AMANDA PALMER!!! The kimono is off, she's in a bra, corset, and trousers, sharpie-penned and not missing a note. She's right there and dancing with me. With one of my new friends. With a guy she dances away with through the crowd and he looks so happy to be going.

And so the night goes. We hear music from Theatre Is Evil and old tunes and covers. We hear stories and impromptu music and Amanda goes crowd surfing twice and keeps moving around. We hear a new song she's just written that makes me cry. (It's the song from this blog.) We hear more Theatre Is Evil. We cheer and dance and everyone...stays friends. It's like we haven't come to watch someone, we've come to join in a night of music, we're all a part of it, and it's an amazing feeling.

They go. They come back on. Amanda plays the Ukulele Song. Amanda works her own merch stand. I get a tour t-shirt and my ticket signed and the opportunity to say Thank You, not capable of anything else. I manage more words for Bitter Ruin as I buy their CDs and they sign one for me. Me and my friend leave and the warm weather outside actually feels cool.

And there's a huge queue that is as long as it was at the start of the night outside, because whilst the venue closes and everyone legally has to be out by 11pm Amanda has said that she will sign and chat outside. I wish I could stay, but we have a train to catch. And I don't just wish I could stay because of Amanda. I want to spend more time with the people I've met. I want to stay a part of things.

I wake up in the morning feeling like a vampire from twilight: dead, moronic, and sparkly. I have no idea where all of the glitter has come from.

That feeling? Still there.
feeling: ecstaticecstatic
A completely happy writer: huge mug of hot goodnesslar_laughs on July 13th, 2013 11:22 pm (UTC)
What a great experience! I think that would make even a real vampire sparkly! How awesome that she interacted so much with her fans!
inkvoices: danceinkvoices on July 14th, 2013 10:19 pm (UTC)
It really, really was. I've never been to a gig with an atmosphere like it.

So. Much. Glitter. Maybe there was glitter bombing going on? I haven't the foggiest. I just shined.