Letters of Mass Construction

The Dresden Dolls: A Love Story


I came to the Dresden Dolls party a little late. They were still a band and touring. I didn’t know that tour was going to be their last major one as a band. I was sucked into their music completely. Even more amazingly, so was my wife (who never ceases to surprise me with what music she will connect with). The Dresden Dolls were right up my musical alley but they were slightly off center for my wife. She loved them anyway. Before we got to share this musical love at a concert they were no more.

We have seen Amanda Palmer many times since then but in the back of our heads there was always a little sadness that we had missed the opportunity to see Brian Viglione perform with Amanda. We had seen the DVD’s. Listened to the albums countless times. In a lot of ways The Dresden Dolls were the band I had always been looking for. Their music spoke to me. It whispered to me, “I know you. You are a part of this tribe.” When they announced a small reunion tour we knew we had to see them. The fact that the show fell on New Year’s Eve was just a bonus.

We sat joyfully through Pomplamoose (who were fantastic) and waited expectantly to experience this band who we both loved so much. The energy in the building was crazy awesome. I swear you could have powered a small city with the electricity in the air. Jason Webley stoked the fire in the crowd to crazy heights and then it started. Two people center stage. A keyboard, drums, a guitar. Brian started on the guitar and you could feel the crowd ready to burst. The song was lovely but they were waiting for that first boom. That explosion of percussion.

When the stick hit the first skin it was like TNT going off. For the next three hours we would be treated to musical synchronicity. The crowd ate it up and they screamed their love straight into The Dresden Dolls hearts. Amanda and Brian soaked it up like sponges and fed it back to us. It was a virtuoso performance. It was what every band should be. The two of them up on the stage weaving their sounds together. Knowing what the other was going to do and anticipating the notes, the sound, the syncopation. Two incredibly talented parts and one incredible band.

As the music pounded through me, invading my ears and brain. I suddenly understood. I knew why so many people were disappointed they had gone their separate ways. They owned that stage and they loved their music. This wasn’t two people who wanted to be famous. This was two people who had to play music because nothing else made sense for them. Creating art and sharing it with the world.

I have been to many concerts in my life but they were all just preparing me for this one. There were moments the music was so perfect I felt my breath catch in my lungs. I don’t know if the Dresden Dolls will ever make another album together, although I am guessing yes. I do know my musical life, that part of my life which feeds my writing is so much better having experienced this moment. A four hour love fest. A symphony of sound. Two people center stage, a musical love story.

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3 Responses to “The Dresden Dolls: A Love Story”

  1. Ruth says:

    >I'm jealous. I listened to my first Dresden Dolls album (the first one) a couple months after they played their last show at the 930 Club right here in DC. Dresden Dolls/Amanda Palmer and Gogol Bordello have been the two bands I've discovered as an adult that I love like I do the bands I discovered and loved as a teen. Dresden Dolls, in particular, fit into my brain perfectly and I can listen to their whole discography in one go. I was a bit surprised my husband liked them as much as I do, but he thinks Amanda's a brilliant songwriter.We've seen Amanda twice, but never the Dolls together. Someday.

  2. Anonymous says:

    >Beautifully put, but that is nothing less than I expected! The Dresden Dolls are a band you get and love or not. I don't know anyone that does not feel very passionately about them. When they play, it's almost impossible to believe there are only two people up there on stage. Two people generating that kind of emotion, that kind of energy. I can never explain it to anyone that has not seen them live. I just feel so sorry for everyone that has missed the experience. It's one of the few things in life that nothing else will even come close to.

  3. Anonymous says:

    >It sounds like you had a better gig with the Dresden Dolls than I did!Throughout our's, they were bitching about the sound (seemed fine to me and my boyfriend at the time, who was a sound engineer), and cracking little tanties after almost every song.Thankfully, I've got one of the live DVDs where they're definitely more well-behaved. :)Jazpuh.

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