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Coachella ‘09: Amanda Palmer

April 18th, 2009, 5:47 pm · posted by Pedro
Before 5 p.m. today I didn’t really know much at all about Amanda Palmer, other than that she’s one half of the Dresden Dolls, who often get described as a punk cabaret duo.

Fifty minutes later she’d jumped to the top of my Coachella list after a terrific set that started with body painted volunteers lined up on the stage and ended with Palmer body surfing the length of the Gobi tent to sing one final number.

The volunteers came on stage to the theme from “2001: A Space Oddssey,” their fronts painted in black-and-white zebra stripes, their backs each bearing on letter which when they turned around spelled out “AMANDA ****ING PALMER.”

Dressed in a bustier, gartered mid-calf stockings and occasionally swigging from a bottle of wine, Palmer played the keyboards and sang, occasionally accompanied by cellist Zoe Keating. Palmer mixed songs from her solo album, “Who Killed Amanda Palmer?” (”Oasis,” the story of a teen rape victim, banned in Britain) and the Dresden Dolls (”Coin-Operated Boy,” among others.)

The dramatic, emotional material clearly connected with fans who spilled out of the tent trying to see the set. But the finale sealed the deal.

“OK, for my final act, I’m going to try to crowd surf from this point (the stage) to that point (the sound booth at the other end of the tent) and not get dropped,” Palmer announced. And then with a swig from the bottle, off she went, 150 feet or so over the crowd, passing byus close enough we were able to snap the accompanying photos.

“I’m going to sing one more song,” she said upon arriving. “I want you all to sing along.”

Then, playing a ukulele to accompany herself and the crowd, she led everyone in singing Radiohead’s “Creep,” and after which she led the whole crowd over to the Do Lab in the middle of the Coachella grounds where she posed for photos and delivered hugs and autographs for the next half hour.

Amanda bleeping Palmer, indeed.