11/19/99, El Rey Theatre, Los Angeles
Okay, I'll get this out of the way: Rue the day Dead Can Dance ever broke up, if only because it seems like it's been forever since we've heard from Brenda Perry. While Lisa Gerrard released two solo works, he continued to tease us with the possibility of one.
We got there late because I couldn't get off work any earlier, and then we had to whisk down to L.A. The show had started fairly early, so unfortunately we missed nearly all of Kristin Hersh. Upon entering however, I heard a spine-tingling rendition of my favorite song, "Your Ghost."
As we waited for Brendan Perry to take the stage, I thought, "Thank God we are in the El Rey Theatre." It's the most lovely venue you can imagine, with tasteful art nouveau decor, just the right size, and plenty of room for everyone to see. I seriously couldn't remember the last time I attended a show where there was no pushing*. Considering how late we were, I thought us lucky to find a spot to stand in so close and still be very comfortable.
It felt funny seeing Perry with a-- well, normal band... no guy dancing in a monk's robe, looking like he's just walked in from a Dungeons & Dragons convention, no endless parade of ancient, obscure musical instruments. We used to laugh at how for every song DCD played live, Perry would be busting out a hurdy-gurdy, giant gong, or harp that can only be found at Macchu Picchu. In spite of this, his new material surprised me with its ambience and depth. I heard pieces of Daniel Lanois, or glimpses of Chris Isaak as Perry showed off parts of his voice I had never experienced. Sure, he's always been better live than in the studio, but now he's showing such versatility.
Perry kept the crowd really excited with lots of older material including "I Can See Now/American Dreaming," a really cool and tripped-out version of "The Ubiquitous Mr. Lovegrove," and even took on This Mortal Coil's, "Song of the Siren," time #1 when I started to cry. He also included covers of Tim Buckley and The The. Later in the set they performed "In Power We Entrust The Love Advocated," time #2 when I started to cry.
DCD sawn asunder, I counted myself amongst the many in mourning, finding Lisa Gerard's solo music almost bizarre without Brendan Perry's touch. It did grow on me though-- I love it now, and would drop anything to go see her. But this is supposed to about Perry. I missed his music so much, and can't be more thankful for Eye of The Hunter--a lush and haunting folk record-- and hopefully more performing!
*Idiot alert! One guy at some point chimed, "Where's Lisa?" I was like, "Great! The show's over!!" Luckily either Perry's temper has mellowed or the comment didn't reach the stage.