[Kind of an Audiobook] Review: An Evening With Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer

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an evening with neil gaiman and amanda palmerTitle: An Evening With Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer
Genre: Short Stories / Music
Source: Library (CD)

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New York Times Best-Selling author Neil Gaiman and International recording artist Amanda Palmer release a 3-disc set, titled An Evening With Neil Gaiman & Amanda Palmer on November 19th. In 2011, Neil and Amanda, recently married, decided to tour the West Coast, and perform together for six nights, to meet each other’s fans and answer questions from the audience. Requests for the shows to be recorded resulted in their first crowdfunding experiment. They went to Kickstarter to raise the money, made 666% more than they asked for, and so were able, in Spring 2012, to release a 3 CD set, bonus CDs and digital material to their 3873 backers.

Previously unreleased to the general public, and culled from hours of live recordings, one CD features Gaiman and Palmer collaborations, such as Makin Whoopee and I Google You. One CD is all Amanda Palmer, and marks the first time original live Amanda Palmer tracks Dear Old House, Gaga, Palmer, Madonna: A Polemic, Judy Blume and Do You Swear to Tell the Truth the Whole Truth and Nothing But the Truth So Help Your Black Ass have been made available to general public on CD. Gaiman’s solo CD includes several uncollected poems and stories, and his non-fiction account of a visit to the Oscars in The View From the Cheap Seats.

3CD set. Quaint 2011 live collaboration from The Dresden Dolls frontwoman with her husband, the acclaimed UK author. Contains on-stage readings, comedy and music.

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I was really hesitant about whether to review this on the blog or not since it’s really not a book, BUT it’s Neil Gaiman, who is an author — an author I love — and it’s completely awesome, so there you go.

I had heard about this tour that Neil and Amanda did and I wasn’t really sure what to expect. Needless to say, the instant I started listening to it, I was in love with the whole thing. Neil is just charming as ever and him and Amanda have great chemistry on stage. The collection starts out with Neil on the first disc, who reads a collection of short stories and poems, my favourite being The Statue, as well as his hilarious story about going to the Oscars for Coraline. I could listen to Neil talk all day long, so this CD was obviously too short!

The second disc was a mix of him and Amanda singing songs together and doing more readings. I had thought that the extent of Amanda’s contribution to the CDs would be strictly music, but I was wrong. Amanda reads poetry out loud (during one of them, Neil plays the iPad), both of which were quite beautiful. And the duets between Amanda and Neil? Priceless. I had known Neil to sing before since I’m a huge Ben Folds fan and him, Amanda, and Neil (as well as Damian Kulash) recorded a disc of songs called 8in8 a while back that was awesome. Neil sang his song from that collection, The Problem With Saints, as well a a very cute version of Making Whoopie, a duet with Amanda.

The last disc is pretty much all Amanda. I had never been a fan of the Dresden Dolls (though I had never really had the chance to listen to them) but I do listen to Amanda’s newer stuff. I knew she was talented, but listening to her live really gives me a new appreciation. She’s well spoken during the readings, amazing on the piano, and her voice has the ability to go rough and raw, but then smooth and light on the next turn. Her song choice was pretty great, too. Loved the Judy Blume song and This Old House, a song to the house she grew up in, was absolutely beautiful.

Whether you’re a fan of Neil or a fan of Amanda, this CD set has something for everyone. It’d be perfect for a long commute or road trip and is definitely one I’ll want to listen to again and again. If you have a reader in the family and a music lover, this is the perfect blend for both, full of touching stories, humour, and a lot of fun.

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My home is where my books are. - Ellen Thompson

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