An Evening with Amanda Palmer

If you ever have the chance to see Amanda Palmer live, go. Even if you’ve never heard of her, go. Even if you’re not sure that you like her music, go. Go for the sake of humanity, for love, for your heart. Last night she took my heart – and everyone else’s – and she poured every essence of her existence into it, nourishing us all, without asking for anything in return.

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A wild Amanda appears. Credit: @andrewabphotography

We all sat huddled on the floor of the children’s section of the Central Library in Liverpool. Every few minutes the ground would rumble, the metro passing by below. Amanda appeared behind us, ukulele in hand, and elegantly stumbled amongst our selves and strewn belongings so that she may perch herself on a bookshelf. Her hair was adorned with flowers in the most perfect arrangement. She opened with In My Mind, setting the mood for what would be an enchanting and humorous evening. An evening that would take many different twists and turns. Amanda asked someone to choose a book for storytime, which taught us about vegetables, and that they come in all different shapes and sizes.

Amanda then found her way to the piano, and asked us what we would like to hear. The first choice was Astronaut. Immediately I felt a surge of electricity pass through me as she pounded the first notes out, bashing emphatically at the keys. The audience then chose the Jeep Song, putting Amanda’s memory to the test. For every stumble, struggle, and forgotten lyric or key, I found myself loving her more. Every imperfection makes her more real, more human, and more loveable.

Her friend/doula/stage manager slash everything joined for the next two songs. Delilah, and then her first ever cover of a Beatles song; most appropriately, Paperback Writer. They had learned it earlier that evening, in only 25 minutes, the way in which Amanda loves to work, raw and honest. We then listened to Leeds United, and Killing Type, further adding to the already eclectic evening.

It was time for another treat; Amanda told us the story behind Trout Heart Replica, which I will try to retell but in no manner anywhere near as wonderful. This involved a tragically funny account of her now-husband Neil, took her to a trout farm in -20 degrees. Amanda and her band/crew had to choose which fish they wanted to be slaughtered, and watched in horror as one fish heart refused to stop beating in the butcher’s hand. He laughed morbidly as the vegetarians (and the pescatarians too) stood aghast. Neil then tried to cook the fish in newspaper, and failed fantastically.

Next came Judy Blume, a tribute to our childhood heroes, then Vegemite, Neil’s only love song (thus far). Every story, every explanation, is an insight to her world and the way she sees things. I cling to every word that captivates each sentence: she is a storyteller of the truest form, and we hunger for it. We transcend.

Throughout the performance I had been wishing dearly to hear Bigger on the Inside, undoubtedly my favourite song. I was feeling somewhat guilty for wishing it, for I cry almost every time I hear it, and I’m pretty sure Amanda cries every time she sings it. But there is no song more real than this. It is the embodiment of all of our wounds and fears, bringing us closer to our truth. She came to us, and began to play. Tears welled up instantly. I whispered the words as she sang, and cherished every. single. moment.

There was yet another explosion of energy for her final song, Coin Operated Boy, performing to the extreme. The piano is an extension of Amanda: the notes flow out in the most beautiful cacophony, accompanied by every facial expression an actor would ever dream of. Unfortunately the evening had to come to an end. She signed, we hugged, and we went home, trying to process everything that had just happened, hoping to carve it into our forever memories for the years to come.

All I feel is an overwhelming sense of gratitude. That I somehow managed to get a ticket the day before the show. That she played my favourite song. That we all cried together, laughed together, ached and grew together. That Amanda exists. Join her Patreon and share in her existence.

I really loved her hair.

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