An Evening With Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer
Reviewed by: Jane Roser
I’ve been a fan of Neil Gaiman since I was a young adult reading The Sandman comics and sporting a tee shirt that said “How would you feel about life if death was your older sister?” So, spending three hours listening to the 40 tracks on Gaiman and wife singer/songwriter Amanda Palmer’s three-disc album was like wrapping on a cozy robe, sitting by the fireplace with a cat in your lap and listening to an old time radio program: nostalgic, exciting and delicious.
Gaiman is an acclaimed fantasy writer and winner of the Hugo and Bram Stoker awards, as well as being the only author to win the Newbery and Carnegie medals for the same book (The Graveyard Book). His wife, Amanda Palmer, is an accomplished international performer and Kickstarter guru extraordinaire. This album came about from five West coast tour dates the couple did in 2011. The previously unavailable performances were recorded and released by 8ft Records and include poetry, prose, short stories and songs. There are duets such as the hilarious and charming “Makin’ Whoopee” (Palmer: “He doesn’t make much money” Gaiman: “Well…”), show tunes (“I Don’t Care Much” from Cabaret) and Palmer’s solo piano and ukulele ballads. Gaiman sings, too, and carries a tune well on songs like “Psycho” which, as with the other tracks on this album, has biting wit and macabre humor: “Put some coffee in my cup. You think I’m psycho don’t you mama? You better let them lock me up.”
Gaiman and Palmer take turns answering questions from the audience, as well as reading their poetry and stories. “The Day The Saucers Came” is fantastic and cheeky and “Broken Heart Stew” is the three h’s: haunting, heartless and honest (“And then maybe we only try to fall in love to have something to do, but that’s a lonely and tasteless and bitter excuse; when you’re starving to death, even fingers will do.”)
Gaiman once said something that truly summed up my thoughts when I came to the album’s finale. He said, “The world always seems brighter when you’ve just made something that wasn’t there before.”
I couldn’t agree more.