Point/Counterpoint: Dead Can Dance

DEAD CAN DANCE at the Hollywood Bowl, a Ticket Winner’s Perspective


dead can dance 2Let me tell you that I could just kill a man paying $25 to park on a grassy knoll four blocks from the amphitheater. Don’t get stuck on stupid. Park at the sick church and walk to the bowl if you must. Do NOT pay for easy access parking, even if your tickets are free and you are within inches of the Hollywood Bowl.

My Preamble: Although I have grown out of poet black, I am the demographic, and I have not aged well. (Neither has Brendan Perry and Lisa Gerrard, the artists behind the beautiful music, but more on that.) I eat too much fructose and stare at my shoes too often to look like Jesus Christ with a touch of Pan anymore. Although My Arabian Princess petitioned me to see this band and whirled at my side on her way in for having won the tickets from losanjealous.com — so few Westerners perform original music in that peculiar wailing wall style of the far east — my Indigo Girl-enhanced compassion was not with my late thirties brethren in their gypsy approximations of pre-Christian Europe, and their painted faces with the ankhs, smuggling in wine coolers. What chromosomal retreads are my fellow fans. Have they always been this way? I had such an incredibly valid reason for going. Who were these people again?

You see, I did enjoy “Serpent’s Egg” very much as a twenty-two year old lotus eater. I read stacks of Alan Moore’s “Swamp Thing” and played the Cocteau Twins over and over and lived by the passion of Rainer Maria Rilke’s “Letters to a Young Poet”, and seduced beautiful women in bathtubs with the lion’s feet on them, and thought the world was going to be like “Dark Age of Camelot” once I got out of school.

End Preamble.


We got our tickets at the Will Call desk. The line was serpentine, and most of those in line thought they were in line for something else, even though a comely man in a suit with a walkie talkie told them repeatedly to get a clue.

Arabian Princesses need bottled water at all times and will not drink from the public fountain, so appending the time for getting money from the machine and waiting for bottled water, I missed the opener.

The cool thing about the Hollywood Bowl is the innumerable ways you can access it. This time, we took two elevators to a secret level, triggered by a gigantic stone head upon which we exchanged a bag of sand for a golden monkey god statue. Our seats were in back, but the sound is gorgeous at the Hollywood Bowl no matter where you sit and we were not disappointed in this respect. We had a full view of the stage and the monitors, and seated about five minutes from show time.

dead can dance 1Right as Brendan Perry and Lisa Gerrard came on with the impressive twenty-five piece orchestra, I heard the first idiot knock over his glass bottle. There would be no subtlety.

Brendan was very masculine in his Kojak incarnation with the silver whisker goatee. And Lisa was Hillary Clinton-like in her agedness, in a yellow frock that would have suited the Lady of Shallot. They began one of their meditative caravan numbers. Then they went into another one. And then there was another.

You know, I’m not going to remember the names of the damn songs. Not that they all sound alike, but the names are like esoteric poems of the nineteenth century. “The Wind that Shakes the Barley”, “Song of the Sybil”, “Severance”. They did the hits. They played well with the orchestra. There was ambiance and bad poetry on the LCD displays. People were screaming out for songs that no one knew. Brendan Perry was hip, introducing his stuff as having been number one in 1472. And Hillary Clinton has an incredible voice. No one missed notes. There were spikes of passion, more than old people can still sing and move than for these funeral dirges. Elijah Wood and other Hobbits moved among our numbers, whispering in a half-afraid way about a ring of power.

Two hours and three encores later, I took my Arabian Princess and made for the exit. I noticed how haunting, irradiated open cell phone illumination has replaced the cigarette lighter as a candlelit tribute to rock and roll or whatever this was. Who were these people again?

You know, I wept to Dead Can Dance and other 4AD bands when I was twenty.