Neil Gaiman / Amanda Palmer

An Evening with Neil Gaiman & Amanda Palmer

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Controversial theatrical songwriter and Kickstarter expert Amanda Palmer and her husband, writer and sometimes singer Neil Gaiman, found themselves on a short, intimate tour in late 2011, moving up the West Coast from Los Angeles to Seattle, Washington, hitting five cities where they presented songs, poems, and readings together and separately. The five dates were recorded and offered up in limited editions to fans who donated online in support of the tour, eventually materializing into a public release with almost three hours of material from the brief tour, known simply as An Evening with Neil Gaiman & Amanda Palmer. The lengthy set starts out with a series of readings of prose, fiction, and poems from Gaiman, who is eventually joined by Palmer to share each other's poems, cute duets on cheeky standards like "Makin' Whoopee," and even a segment where they answer questions from the audience with gushy anecdotes about their relationship and travels together. Palmer is joined at a point by collaborator Jason Webley for another long introductory story before they giggle their way through "Electric Blanket," a twee ballad about touring in the cold months. Though not presented in a typical live album fashion, the collection is surprisingly light on Palmer's solo ukulele songs and confessional keyboard jams, saving most of them for the last third of the album and even then prefacing most of them with long explanatory introductions. The atmosphere of a dimly lit, tiny concert house is captured perfectly in the warm and wine-seeped songs and stories, but the self-indulgent presentation becomes tiresome quickly, especially in the moments of overly fawning remembrances and precious duets between Palmer and Gaiman. Die-hard fans will find the entire set adorable and captivating, but anyone coming to either artist for the first time should pick anywhere else to start.

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