2012/09/30

Dear Amanda

I shouldn't call you Amanda, I suppose. I don't actually know you. We're both musicians from Boston, but I left the city and moved to Vancouver long before you and Brian formed the Dresden Dolls. My band participating in the WBCN Rock 'n' Roll Rumble and your band winning it were almost 20 years apart!

I'm going to call you Amanda anyway. You bring that upon yourself by being so amazingly good with social media, especially Twitter. Really, I don't think anyone does it better. I'm astounded by how much time and effort you put into that and your Tumblr blog. And look what happens. You retweet someone's tweet and they're yours forever. Worth the effort, I'd say. Others should learn from you.

I went to your show at the Commodore tonight. Or technically last night, but I haven't gone to bed yet, so I'm calling it tonight. Just a few weeks ago, I had no plans to go. I had thought about going to see Bloc Party. I've been a Bloc Party fan for many years. I'm only a newly minted Amanda Palmer fan.

It all started with "Amandagate." First, the story of the amazing amount of money you raised on Kickstarter so you could make and distribute your new album independent of a record label. You asked for a hundred grand, and your fans ponied up 12 times as much. And then, the kerfuffle about inviting local musicians to play with you on stage for, what was it, beer, hugs, and high fives, or something like that. I already wrote about that and how I feel. At any rate, all of that caught my attention at a time when I had just returned to Twitter. I watched the video for "Want It Back" and was completely blown away by both song and visuals. Stil, I held off for several days before following you on Twitter. I wasn't sure I wanted to go down that path.

When I did follow, one of the first tweets I saw was that you were in New Orleans. I wrote that you ought to go to Chef Chris DeBarr's new restaurant, Serendipity. Not only had you already been there. You saw my tweet and wrote back to tell me you had been there and that Serendipity was "killer."

You had me.

I downloaded Theatre Is Evil and was even more impressed. The range from rocking hard to being quiet and intimate is quite startling, in a good way. Not many people can cover a range like that in one record. Maybe someone like Neil Young. That's good company.

Pretty soon I was buying a ticket for your show at the Commodore. Only one at first. My partner is not a fan. But she loves me, and she said that she would go with me, so I bought another ticket. Sadly, this evening, she had really bad stomach flu. She was in no shape to go to a show, so I got all dressed up and went by myself.

And you did it again. I tweeted, "Oui, c'est moi, all by myself @amandapalmer in a one-shoulder magenta dress and sparkly tights. #talkstostrangers" This was not long before you and the Grand Theft Orchestra took the stage. And you retweeted it! I was so touched by that! It's getting to me now as I write this.

This isn't a review of the show. I wasn't taking notes. I was a bit late arriving, so I'm afraid I caught only the end of Jherek's band. I'm sorry. I saw the few numbers that Chad and his band played. I sang along with everyone else to "Sweet Dreams" and "Don't Stop Believing while Ronald Reagan played. I saw the fruit! Since I was late, I missed the setup, but I definitely enjoyed the results. I didn't know Americans ever used the term "courgette"!

I have lots of pictures, so I know it happened.

And I saw your show. That's not really the right word for it. The Amanda Palmer experience? I'm not going to say that it changed my life, but it definitely made a huge impact. Loved loved loved it. Love how you give so much on stage. Love the playfulness, yes, even the iPhone pile and the soccer tits. Love the anger and the pathos. I can understand why you didn't play "The Bed Song," but there was still plenty in the set to really move me, like "Trout Heart Replica" and "Grown Man Cry." At one point you hopped off the stage and walked right by me while you were singing, and then walked back through the crowd. I knew you usually ended up crowd surfing at your shows. What I didn't know was that I was going to be in the right place at the right time. I helped support you. I kept that long train aloft as you surfed back stage left. I wasn't on stage like some people, but I was part of the show. The experience. You let me touch you. You touched me.

It was a wild and crazy and beautiful experience. And not only was I late arriving. I also slipped out a bit early. I had to take SkyTrain home, and I wasn't sure when the last one would run. As well, my aging feet were killing me. And I have band practice tomorrow, so I really shouldn't be up now. I don't know how much longer you played, whether you really had to stop at 12:30 or not. But I was wonderfully filled up. I couldn't party anymore.

I held it together until I got out of the cab in front of my house and looked up at the full moon. I started crying then. I'm a witch, and I celebrate the full moon. It marks the boundary of a cycle for me. There was something about seeing that beautiful moon after having been part of your experience that just grabbed me deep inside and didn't let go. I wasn't sad. I was overwhelmed.

I'm pretty sure the show we saw was unique. It was all about the confluence of events that night. I would have shared it with those around me, but they were doing their own thing. So it was just me and you, and that was fine.

You shared so much of yourself tonight. You share so much of yourself every day on Twitter. Even so, I'm not crazy. I know that I don't really know you. But I wish I did.

Thank you. Maybe you did change my life. I guess we'll see.

Love,

- Véronique

1 comment:

Andréa Hector-Brown said...

it's a beautiful thing when other people's music inspires us musicians xoxoxo