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I’ve seen her cross a hall with a marching band behind her playing this song. And this is better than any of them.” Two nights later, on the phone, after the Boston gig, she tells me how irritated she is with people who tell her that they like the Dresden Dolls better than her solo performances, and I feel guilty.I’m starting to understand why she went on her first tour with a dance troupe, even though it guaranteed the tour would make no money, why she would go on tour as conjoined twins with Jason Webley and a single dress that fitted both of them.

The first encore: Brian’s on guitar, Amanda’s now wearing a golden bra, crawling out onto the speaker-stacks to sing “Mein Herr” from Cabaret.

Then a crazed, wonderful improvisation that slowly crashes into Amanda’s song about parents, “Half Jack.” “They fuck you up, your mum and dad,” said Philip Larkin long before either of the Dresden Dolls were born, in a line that sounded like it could have swaggered out of an Amanda Palmer song, and “Half Jack” is just all about that.

I want to describe Amanda Palmer, half of art-punk cabaret-rock band the Dresden Dolls, in a way that makes her seem like something exotic, but truly, it’s hard for me to think of Amanda Palmer as exotic: I know her too well.

We’ve been friends for three years, a couple for nearly two, and engaged to be married for the best part of a year now.

Then it’s “Sing.” If there ever was a Dresden Dolls anthem, it’s this: a plea to make art, whatever the hell else you do.”Sing for the teacher who told you that you couldn’t sing,” sings Amanda.

The audience sings along, and it feels important, less of a singalong and more like communion or a credo, and we’re all singing and it’s Hallowe’en and I’m up on the balcony slightly drunk, thinking that this is some sort of wonderful, and Amanda’s shouting, “You motherfuckers, you’ll sing some day,” and it’s all so good, and I’m standing with two dead girls, and we’re cheering and happy and it’s one of those perfect moments that don’t come along in a lifetime that often, the kind of moment you could end a movie on.

Amanda goes into the chords of “Coin-Operated Boy,” a song that too often, solo, feels like a novelty song, and, played by Amanda and Brian together it brings the house down: less of a song and more of an act of symbiosis, as they try to wrong-foot each other.

It’s funny and it’s moving and it’s like nothing else I’ve ever seen.

A few weeks ago, we noted that Amanda Palmer — the musician who performs as a solo act and as one half of the Dresden Dolls and Evelyn Evelyn — made a rather dramatic appearance at Kate Bornstein‘s book party, held at Dixon Place.

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