Amanda Palmer was likely still feeling sad from the loss of her dear friend Becca Darling (read Amanda's touching blog post here). But that didn't prevent her and the band from delivering a killer show at The C-Club in Berlin.
We arrived around 20:00 (show start announced at 21:00) and found a massive amount of people outside waiting to be let in. We had brought flashlights as instructed by Amanda. I had also brought my ukulele, hoping to have it signed after the gig, and we had uploaded photos to Amanda's site to be used as part of the stage image projections.
It turned out that all internet tickets had to be manually handled in one queue before you could enter through a different queue. It reminded us a bit of East Germany in the communist days. Optimize please! Inside the venue turned out to be of a smaller size (perhaps a capacity around 800 people) and even if the bar was somewhat expensive and used a stupid plastic glass refund system it was all fine. We found a good place to the right of the stage with out backs to the wall and a good view of the stage. The C-Club has very nice acoustics and it has a good size for more intimate gigs and since the floor is leveled there's a good chance for everyone to be able to actually see the stage.
Amanda's bass player Jherek Bischoff was the first support act. He played/conducted a short set with the local string quartet. Second support act was Amanda's guitarist/keyboard-player Chad Raines' band The Simple Pleasure who also played a short set. Amanda joined for a short introduction of both support gigs and during Jherek's gig both Chad and Amanda's drummer Michael McQuilken joined the band on a few songs.
Amanda and the Grand Theft Orchestra took the stage around 21:45 and played on for the next 2 hours. The show was following much of the same formula or structure I had first experienced in London in June at the kick-starter event. They had however changed the setlist a lot since then. The first 3 pack punch Smile, The Killing Type, Want It Back is sure to wake the crowd and get the party started. But after that Amanda's keyboard broke down and had to be replaced with a new one. This forced them to abort the Dresden Dolls classic Missed Me and after a bit of Avant-garde Jazz improvisation and other funny ways to solve the situation we got Grown Man Cry before the new keyboard was brought to life and they could re-start Missed Me with the hilarious instrument-swapping that let the band-members try some of the other instruments with more or less success.
Tonight's show obviously let Amanda crowd surf for a while in her long dress during Bottomfeeder and it also included a "Box" session where Amanda read various sad posts written by members of the audience. I have to admit I used most of the box time slot to run to the bar to get some new drinks. After that we got a very great version of The Bed Song and also a German song Seeräuber Jenny that showed that Amanda knows more than a few German words. I believe Trout Heart Replica was added as a last minute decision, perhaps prompted by the beautiful string quartet who did really well. Anyway, the song was not on the initial set list.
I most definitely didn't complain that Bottomfeeder and Melody Dean were both found on the set list since they are two of my Theatre Is Evil album favorites. Berlin played live in Berlin was really great. I didn't like it in London in June and I don't like the album version, but somehow it all clicked here (even if it's not a song about the city of Berlin.) The second Dresden Dolls song of the evening Girl Anachronism ended the main gig and we then got Do It With A Rockstar for the encore.
The crowd obviously wanted more after a really great evening with a very well-singing Amanda Palmer and a well-playing Grand Theft Orchestra. Again the set list was altered and Ukulele Anthem was dropped because the crowd wanted to hear Creep instead. Amanda grabbed her ukulele, ran through the crowd to the other end of the venue and performed Creep on ukulele while standing on the bar desk. A fantastic end to a fantastic evening.
I begin to think that Amanda is unable to play a less than great concert and she is certainly always guarantee for lots of fun, tons of improvisations and crowd interactions. I have already secured tickets for Brighton and London in the spring since I'm not sure if she will visit Scandinavia on the current tour. Amanda never came out after the gig (at least not before we got kicked out of the venue) so I never got my ukulele signed. Hopefully I'll have better luck next time. :)
A Grand Theft Intermission, Smile, The Killing Type, Want It Back, Missed Me, Grown Man Cry, Missed Me [dresden dolls], Astronaut, "MagicFutureBox" [new song by Michael McQuilken with Amanda], "Box" (Amanda reading sad messages), Bed Song, Seeräuber Jenny [kurt weill, german song], Bottomfeeder, Trout Heart Replica, In My Room [yazoo], Berlin, Melody Dean, Eisbär [grauzone], Girl Anachronism [dresden dolls].