The Christchurch earthquake almost kept Amanda Palmer from getting to Auckland. It was only due to a late plane that Palmer missed being caught in Christchurch on Tuesday when the deadly quake hit. Instead she played a ninja show in Napier and arrived in Auckland at 8pm on Wednesday, just hours before she hit the stage at the Kings Arms.
It ended up being a big, sprawling affair that stretched over two and half hours and featured Palmer at her best and worst. The first hour of the show felt a little too familiar. Palmer had played the same venue, and many of the same songs just last March. And new songs like Vegemite, while entertaining, don’t stand up to repeated plays…its like hearing the same joke being told over and over again. But things picked up when Jason Webley joined her for an impromptu version of Billy Joel’s Piano Man, bringing audience members up on stage to play the roles of the characters in the song. Webley stayed around to play a few more tunes, then inadvertently put Amanda’s keyboard out of action. This flustered Palmer for a bit but she brought out her trusty ukulele and sang Tasmania. Eventually the keyboard was brought back to life and Amanada performed an extended version of New Zealand, complete with brand new verses written with the recent earthquake in mind. She then went into a touching reading of obscure Kiwi musician Peter Jeffries’ Electricity. This was when the night felt special. Despite the late hour, Palmer continued on with a few more tunes and Webley came back for a rousing drinking tune to close out the night.
Yes, there was a bit too much self-indulgent chatter between songs, and I didn’t need to hear Makin’ Whoopee again at the beginning of the show. But eventually Amanda transcended what began as a rather average show and made it come alive. Personally, I would have been happier if the show ended about 20 minutes earlier than it did, but all-in-all it was a very good night.
You can make your own mind up about the show. Listen to the entire concert here:
Check out the 13th Floor’s interview with Amanda recorded earlier this year. Click here to listen to or read the interview.