I don’t know if “variety show” best describes An Evening with Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer, a recording of a joint tour undertaken by Amanda Palmer and Neil Gaiman. It’s a combination of music, poetry, spoken word, and assorted shenanigans by the (then) newly married couple. But “variety” carries a connotation that doesn’t fit here, where the combination is unique in how the pieces react to one another, and form a experience that is at one wholly intimate and inviting and specific and universal.
Coming away from this after not having listened to it since getting it (again, via Kickstarter in a really nice CD set) I am reminded that Neil Gaiman is not a writer, or a show runner, or a screenwriter or a “comic book guy.” He’s a storyteller, and to hear him recite his work is an experience unlike any other. Combining the story behind “The Rhyme Maidens” and then hearing the poem with his cadence, his inflections and bewilderment choked a sob from my throat. Likewise his reciting of the short story “Feminine Endings” except instead of eliciting a sob it was a full-throat laugh. Hearing his voice reminded me just why his impact as a storyteller has been so profound, not only on my life but countless others.
Music-wise it’s what you would expect from Amanda Palmer, so if she’s your thing you’ll love it; if not, well…the Gaiman bits more than make up for it. Myself, I really enjoy all of it, but specifically how everything merges together into something more greater than the sum of its parts. It won’t be another 6+ years before I listen to it again.