Can’t Dance.

I’m shocked that so many of my friends who saw the brace of Dead Can Dance shows last week at the Paramount had a less-than-stellar time. I’ve heard more complaints about varying issues with the band, the performance, and the music itself than perhaps any single concert event I’ve ever witnessed. Of course, I greatly respect the musical taste of my friends, and I really enjoy discussing the ups and downs of the experience from all angles; I’m just a bit miffed that what I thought was an amazing show turned out to be so problematic for so many.


For contrast, I thought I’d put my two cents in. Excluding the fervent platitudes labored upon Dead Can Dance by every goth that doesn’t remember them while they were together the first time, I honestly feel that this is one of the most gorgeous, unique bands ever to grace the ‘alternative’ scene. I discovered them too late, myself, but we’ve all had ample, good downtime locked in our rooms with candles lit, undulating beneath the alternating waves of Lisa Gerrard and Brendan Perry’s bellowings. We all cried like morbid fools when they parted ways.


Considering that Lisa and Brendan haven’t been together in nearly a decade, I was tremendously impressed with the quality of their reunion. The perfect venue for this style of classy, dreamy music, the Paramount partly served as an angelic megaphone that magnified every touching note. The songs that everyone knew were powerful and giddily stimulating to hear live, and the new material that no one recognized was stronger and better-crafted than anything I’ve heard them yet perform. For two musicians to split up to undertake what I considered very mediocre solo careers and then come together to be better than ever before is no small task, and while they clearly can’t stand each other when on stage, each song held me in rapt attention, allowing my imagination to wander along the notes and drums and dulcimer beats. There were no grand movements, no special effects, and no visual delights. It was a musical performance and nothing more, with achingly-saturated colors cast upon them from lights high above. Each could have held the theater on his and her own – without any accompanying music at all – such are their voices veritable forces of nature. My eyes were closed for much of the set, in between brief lash-flutterings to look skyward at the intricate Art Nouveau nudes cast in iron upon the ceiling of the theater. It was over quickly, without fuss, and our particular group left feeling energized and sated.


It was good, and I can’t wait until their new material is out. I’ll say again that I think it will be their best work yet. Most reunions don’t go nearly that well.

19 Responses to “Can’t Dance.”

  1. pope_of_discord Says:
    September 27th, 2005 at 6:45 pm

    Wish I could have been there!
    From your description, it sounds like I missed exactly what I was afraid I would miss.
    I'm glad you got to go and it is good to hear that you enjoyed it.
    Now you have me looking forward to their new album.
    What were some of the problems that other people experienced? I figured the venue would be perfect for them.

  2. FunkyPlaid Says:
    September 28th, 2005 at 8:59 am

    Re: Wish I could have been there!
    I've heard it all. The general consensus seemed to be that they were boring to watch, that the sound was average, instrumentation drab, Lisa was too diva, etc.
    It's not like it was a play. One goes to a concert to listen, after all. And you're right – the venue was perfect.

  3. podle Says:
    September 27th, 2005 at 7:08 pm

    Which night were you there? I would have loved to have gotten together before or after.
    I went on Thursday night and absolutely loved the entire experience. I found Dead Can Dance shortly before my first trip to London in '90 and have loved them since (although until last week I'd never seen them perform live). I found it to be an extraordinary experience. I very rarely go to shows anymore – I am mostly annoyed by the crowds and my experiences tend to be disappointing. I was very glad that I got talked into going to this one. I can't remember the last time I've been this engaged in a musical performance – particularly for the entire performance. I cried a lot (something I tend to do when in the presence of beauty and grace – I've become an old soppy).
    I am confounded that people found much, if anything, to dislike about it. For me it was extraordinary. And the venue couldn't have been more appropriate.

  4. FunkyPlaid Says:
    September 28th, 2005 at 9:04 am

    I went on Wednesday evening – sorry I missed you!
    It sounds like you really loved the whole thing, which makes me happy to hear.
    I received your mail regarding our proposed evening of epicurean hedonism, and I'm sorry I haven't responded as of yet. I'm looking into the next couple of weeks to dry to pin down a date for you and Johnny.

  5. podle Says:
    September 28th, 2005 at 10:57 am

    No worries, it will happen. We are sort of booked this weekend and the next we will be out of town – and so we leapfrog into deep October.
    Had a dream with you in it last night, btw – you took me to a hidden bar that served excellent whiskey.

  6. dangerine Says:
    September 27th, 2005 at 7:12 pm

    methinks i spotted you with miss K while i was standing in line…sorry i didn't have a chance to grab you for a quick hug.
    wednesday's night show was spectacular.

  7. FunkyPlaid Says:
    September 28th, 2005 at 9:04 am

    So glad you enjoyed it – and it would have been so nice to see you!

  8. thistlelurid Says:
    September 27th, 2005 at 7:58 pm

    I was confused for a moment…hehe…they should have called
    this the "Paramount" tour…..<img src=""&gt;.
    We too dealt with a few issues…mainly the stage lights that
    would periodically sear our retinas…or the folks that,
    knowing it was being recorded, let go with loud, annoying
    and obscure exclamations so they could later go "hey,
    thats me!" when they receive their cds…but those are
    minor complaints…and it was an amazing experience
    They performed as if they had never parted.

  9. FunkyPlaid Says:
    September 28th, 2005 at 9:05 am

    We had one guy who grunted like a pig in between songs. I don't think Brendan knew what to make of it.

  10. solarnarf Says:
    September 27th, 2005 at 8:33 pm

    I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed the show on Thursday. I was all goosebumpy and my arm hairs were standing on end through quite a bit of the performance.

  11. FunkyPlaid Says:
    September 28th, 2005 at 9:06 am

    Yeah, and I've seen your arm hairs. That's no small feat.

  12. solarnarf Says:
    September 28th, 2005 at 6:39 pm

    hahahahaha you rock

  13. no_mans_land Says:
    September 28th, 2005 at 12:09 am

    <small>oh good, you have reassured me. i hope they iron out any technical issues by the time they arrive in new york. i'm anticipating this show a great deal.</small>

  14. FunkyPlaid Says:
    September 28th, 2005 at 9:06 am

    I'll of course be interested to get your full review.

  15. evils Says:
    September 28th, 2005 at 11:42 am

    *sniff* sooo jealous :p

  16. FunkyPlaid Says:
    September 28th, 2005 at 11:42 am

    Hey, lady – you got to see Tom Waits, as I recall!

  17. evils Says:
    September 28th, 2005 at 11:59 am

    *sniff* Alas no! Mr Blue took ill with shingles so I decided to forsake ol' Tom for me boy. I tell myself that he'll tour again one day. He will, won't he? Tell me he will!!!
    Anyway, hope yer keeping well boyo! *hugs* from this side of the puddle.

  18. FunkyPlaid Says:
    September 28th, 2005 at 4:09 pm

    Oh gosh! I had forgotten about the Great Blue Plague of '04. I'm sure that he'll come to London again – as long as he doesn't OD on his whisky.
    All is well, dear. Looking forward to seeing you next year for a wee visit!

  19. inbody Says:
    September 30th, 2005 at 12:23 pm

    The most accurate thing I can say for myself is that my tastes have just shifted. The performance was definitely great, but the lack of showmanship was hard to miss. One refreshing thing about Dead Can Dance is their dual personalities. The way the (at least) two very different styles complement each other makes it hard to get too sick of one or the other during the course of the show.

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