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  • Writer's pictureConny Chavez

Live Review + Photos: The Dresden Dolls Live at The Belasco



After 15 years, The Dresden Dolls made their grand return to the City of Angels on Friday, December 8. The extravaganza was filled with surprises, celebrations, and new music yet to be recorded.


The punk cabaret duo Amanda Palmer and Brian Viglione returned to the entertainment capitol producing an unforgettable experience for their loyal and eager fans. The last official time The Dresden Dolls performed in Los Angeles was in May 2008. Following their spectacular show in LA, The Dresden Dolls headed south for another performance in San Diego.


At exactly 8:02 p.m. the theatrical theme music cued the audience as the spectacle would soon commence, two-minutes later Palmer and Viglione were welcomed on stage to waves of applause. Viglione walked on stage wearing the classic black bowler derby hat and bright red glitter marching band jacket as Palmer wore a black jacket with matching fingerless long gloves and green bustier. With no time to waste the duo kicked off the show with “Good Day” immediately followed by “Sex Changes” and “Gravity.” Nearly 20 minutes into the show Palmer paused as she couldn’t read her setlist due to the lights quickly cutting out after every song. The crowd wildly cheered as surprise guest Veronica Swift joined the duo on stage to sing “Delilah,” providing background vocals, her voice radiated through the few verses she sang. In a comical skit, the Dresden Dolls introduced their final act of the first hour. Viglione began to tap his drum sticks on the edges of his drum kit creating a typewriter sound, Palmer then asked what he was typing. He stated he was writing a review of their show and that he would later upload it onto the internet; just like that the duo began to cover Bo Burnham’s “Welcome to the Internet.”


The second hour of the show consisted almost entirely of new songs that have yet to be recorded. Palmer reassured the crowd that they do plan to get into the studio and officially record the tracks for a new album. When introducing their latest song “Whakanewha,” Palmer spoke about her time living in New Zealand. She explained that she had originally traveled to New Zealand for four shows, but due to COVID-19 she was forced to live on the island for two years. The singer also briefly touched on going through a divorce and gave Viglione credit for reworking “Whakanewha” into a Dresden Doll song. As soon as it ended Palmer ran off stage and reappeared on the balcony to sing Jacques Brel’s “Amsterdam” joined by Viglione on guitar, the crowd struggling to keep the tempo flowing with their offbeat claps. Viglione got the crowd back on track, stopping the song and redirecting the crowd to follow his lead. The entire venue cheered as Palmer filled the building with overwhelming emotion as she sang her heart out during “Amsterdam” with a bottle in her hand.


The show paused momentarily as Palmer asked for the lights to be cast on the floor after a fan called for her attention. The singer was quick to thank her crew and security for immediately taking care of the crowd and handling the emergency situation. Once the duo were assured that everything was well, Palmer introduced the next new song, “Another Christmas,” a song described as fitting for a goth Christmas. As a surprise closer, The Dresden Dolls proved that “War Pigs” does not require a guitar, the duo showcased by playing the shit out of their drums and keyboard. Sadly, Palmers mic was accidentally turned off but luckily the crowd sang the first verse in unison. After performing a mastered rendition of the most iconic heavy metal songs from Black Sabbath, the duo took a bow for their exit, returning a few minutes later.


At 10:30 p.m. The Dresden Dolls returned to the stage kicking off their encore with a near 10-minute long battle between keyboard and drums. The show concluded with two songs from their self-titled debut album “Half Jack” and “Girl Anachronism.”


The Dresden Dolls make a great entertainment duo as they passionately perform every single note on their setlist and truly care for their crowd. The duo not only put on a great show but create a spectacular experience all around, just for those who wish to see them perform live. The Dresden Dolls return to California for a special New Years Eve performance at the UC Theatre in Berkeley on Sunday, December 31 and will be joined by drag performers and friends for a night full of surprises.


Setlist

  1. Good Day

  2. Sex Changes

  3. Gravity

  4. Backstabber

  5. My Alcoholic Friends

  6. Shores of California

  7. Mrs. O

  8. Delilah featuring Veronica Swift

  9. Welcome to the Internet (Bo Burnham cover)

  10. Mr. God

  11. Houdini

  12. Whakenewha

  13. Amsterdam (Jacques Brel cover)

  14. Another Christmas

  15. Boyfriend in a Coma (Amanda Palmer song)

  16. The Runner

  17. The Nail

  18. Coin-Operated Boy

  19. War Pigs (Black Sabbath cover)

Encore

  1. Half Jack

  2. Girl Anachronism


(Originally published on Mxdwn.com)

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