This one was more head-spinning than the last. I honestly had little idea what to expect this time round, and most everything exceeded what little I had expected. Chicago and all of the California shows sold out. All of the other shows were packed. Where are these people coming from? Did my mom send them all secretly?
Watching our fanbase start to organically grow without teeth-pulling is astounding. Seeing an audience so genuinely excited (about ANYTHING these days for christs sake) is about all I can ask for. I simply offer up my prayers to whatever gods are above (John? George? Nina? Janis? Klaus?) that my fragile little voice hold out as well as it has. The constant talking is killing it. After the San Fransisco show I had Pope design a tasteful "I WOULD ABSOLUTLEY LOVE TO TALK TO YOU BUT I'VE MOSTLY LOST MY VOICE PLEASE ACCEPT SIGN LANGUAGE AS AN ERSATZ FORM OF COMMUNICATION AND GRATITUDE" message on my forehead. (well, it wasn't QUITE that long).
The performers that joined us across the land were beyond amazing.
It started with Cirque Eloize www.cirque-eloize.com in Montreal doing some amazing acts with a huge aluminum wheel called the "Cyr Wheel" and some sketch acts (a sad note: Krin, the beautfiul girl who played the "Bald Ballerina" in the Wig-Juggling act had a terrible fall from a high wire in rehearsal last week. She broke both wrists and her jaw. We're all bummed).
Beautiful statues and strip-tease in Toronto (I especially loved the "White Wedding" strip). Excellent man-lying-on-nails-and-walking-on-glass acts in Detroit, handmade shirts in Minneapolis, and coin-operated hula-hoopers in San Diego.
San Fransisco and LA were tied for first.
LA produced a Puppet-Theater-Hoopskirt that housed Brian-and-Amanda marionettes, Swing dancers, Nothings-Shockingesque belly-dancers and an impromptu stage-crashing girl dressed as Holly Hobby On Acid who nearly caused us all death by flinging snake-stuffing-beads in all directions during "Coin-Operated Boy". Brian attempted to eject her by launching her face-first into the front row, old school style, after which she did not take the hint and bounced back onto stage....continuing to spray us all with snake-stuffing. Finally a bouncer came to the rescue and removed strange Snake-Twirling-Stuffing-Spraying-Girl from the stage forever. Brian and I stopped the song, shook the snake-stuffing out of my keyboard and did a small rain dance to dispell the rest of the bad mojo. We later heard her protests and declarations of "But it's ART, man!!!" Yes, it is art. It is also art if I shoot you in the arm. Remember the sixties?
San Fransisco boasted an entire puppet theater on stage, a group of three Serbian sisters singing the most haunting a cappella music I've ever heard, and an army of living statues. And enough flowers to bury a whole village with. It was a beautiful sight.
Portland was a pro-choice benefit and Brian performed an astonishing feat: Drumming with No Neck. He pulled it off splendidly and no-one ever noticed the difference. Seattle was awash in yet more living statues and performance artists and a beautiful hand-made backdrop of the Dresden skyline at night.
All of the performers were magnificent, and are now Honorary Members of The Good Patient Club. Congratulations, ladies and gentlemen.
The bands we played with were also unparalleled, especially Devotchka (with whom we played in Detroit, Chicago and Minneapolis). Fans of Wolrd/Inferno Friendship Society and The Dresden Dolls will cream over these guys. They have a hot chick playing Sousaphone...come on, now: www.devotchka.net.
If you have any photos from the tour, post them on the forum: www.shadowbox.net, we would love to see.
Meanwhile, how is Amanda? Amanda is tired and having an unusually difficult time kick-starting herself into action on this particular tour hiatus. I'm really started to dread the feeling that life is going to become a series of hiatuses (?) between endless touring and that real life will not resume for a long time. It usually takes me at least four days to unpack and clear out the shit from my head and floor and inbox. After that, it feels like a constant game of catch-up and I have almost no disclipline to carve out time to sit at the piano and re-connect with the self that writes songs. Although I did begin a lovesong for eminem last night. It sounds like one of those old blondie raps. I love blondie. I'm just bitching. I have my period.
Being recognized everywhere is also starting to make me wonder what life is going to feel like if we keep getting more and more well-known, which sort of seems inevitable at this point. I daily find it a shame that there is no published book entitled "How To Be a Moderately Burgeoning Boston and/or National Success in the Music Business". In fact, I am thinking about penning it myself. Chapters will include: "Boston Massacre: Facing the Hatred of the Boston Rock Scene", "That's Entertainment: Is Your Public Self-consciousness Running Your Life?", "We Hate It When Our Friends Become Successful: Is Everybody Treating You Differenty, Or Are You Just Paranoid?" and "Mother Should I Build A Wall?: Helping Your Mom Face The Fact That You Are an Actually Legitimate Successful Adult and Don't Need Her Advice About What To Post On Your Web Diary". There will be an entire chapter devoted to working through the collision of Pride and Guilt when walking by a beautiful girl or boy wearing a Dresden Dolls Shirt and not wanting to seem full of myself (...so not saying a word and hiding behind a car).
Which reminds me of a hilarious story. A few months ago, before our big show at the Paradise, I was walking my bicycle past Newbury Comics on Newbury Street and a friendly-looking bloke in a patagonia fleece and a baseball cap shoved a handbill in my direction. Expecting a flyer for an in-store appearance by John Mayer, I was shocked that to see that it was for my own show the next night. He was a comrade! I looked him straight in the face (assuming that the eyebrows on the flyer he was holding and the real deal might click) and said "I'm actually planning on going." Didn't register. He went on about how great the band was and I stood there listening, feeling like I was in some bizarre twilight zone christmas past. Then I biked on, thinking: "Amanda, your life is most certainly about to get even stranger."
PUNK CABARET IS FREEDOM.