Finally! I now have my own personal copies of The Dresden Dolls DVD, Paradise, and their new album, Yes, Virginia. I’m still absorbing the new album and tinkering with my review, so this post will just cover the DVD. If you’re completely unfamiliar with The Dresden Dolls and want to know their history and such, check out their page on Wikipedia or the plethora of links provided below.
I don’t usually enjoy music and/or concert DVDs all that much. The only others that I actually own came free with special edition cds, and have been collecting dust since their initial viewings. So despite my somewhat obsessive love of The Dresden Dolls, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed Paradise. But enjoy it I did. Very much.
The DVD begins with a mini-documentary titled “A Day in the Life”. It was shot Real World style, with handheld cameras following bandmates Amanda Palmer and Brian Viglione literally from the time they get out of bed until they take the stage that evening at the Paradise club in Boston.
The beginning of “A Day in the Life” is a bit lackluster as we follow Amanda and Brian through their morning routines. But as showtime nears, it becomes increasing more interesting as Amanda reveals small glimpses into her personality, warms up her singing voice, Brian discovers his drums are missing, we see a dramatic sock-puppet reenactment of the solution, and we’re introduced to a few members of The Brigade.
Next up on the DVD is the pre-show, which includes some interpretive dance performances by members of The Brigade and an interview of the band by Christopher Lydon. Lydon was the host of The Connection on NPR and the subject of The Dresden Dolls song “Christopher Lydon”. The interview includes some flirtation between Lydon and Amanda, and a q&a session with audience members, during which Amanda reveals that her biggest piano playing inspiration was Thelonious Monk.
Then the concert. Amanda and Brian, clad in their trademark mime makeup and garb, seem to attack their instruments more than actually play them. In a good way. My husband made the comment that he didn’t know two people could make so much noise on their own. The Dresen Dolls at their best can make The White Stripes seem like easy listening, somehow transforming a solitary keyboard and drum set into a full punk orchestra. Especially impressive were their thunderously awesome cover of Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs” and their charming duet of Carole King’s “Pierre”, which includes sadly rare vocals from Brian.
The setlist was as follows: