Amanda Palmer Blows the Roof off Toronto

Concert Review by Anne McCarthy

(Getty Images)

She is known to some as Amanda F***ing Palmer.

A stage name adopted in her career, it suits her. There is nothing quiet or unassuming about Palmer. Her boldness and her come-as-you-are attitude are why fans love her so much. There aren’t many rock stars who would read the picture book “Good Night Moon” during their show (as she did in Toronto), but that’s just who Amanda F***ing Palmer is.

Palmer’s show at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Toronto on November 11, 2016, was one for the books. Legendary Canadian musician Leonard Cohen passed away earlier in the week, and Palmer asked Toronto fans via Twitter before the show:

And concertgoers knew it’d be an interesting show at this:

As she took the stage, the crowd erupted. “We love you Amanda!!!” was shouted from various corners of the theater. Palmer proceeded to play her heart out, and chat with the audience like she was talking to an old friend.

Leonard Cohen songs were played, as Palmer shared stories about what he meant to her and her father. (The two reunited when she was an adult, and they bonded over a mutual love of Cohen.) An altar was built onstage for Cohen, as promised. Though the candles had to be blown out due to fire code.

She played her hits, like “In My Mind,” “Ampersand,” “Berlin” (as requested by the girl who Periscoped the concert for Palmer), “Killing Type,” and of course, “The Bed Song.”

Of “The Bed Song,” Palmer told fans: “I’ve had a lot of people tell me that this song reminds them of their ex. But I’ve had just as many people tell me that this song is the story of their parents.”

As the last notes of “The Bed Song” rang out, sniffles could be heard throughout the theater.

Palmer is not only a musician, but also a New York Times bestselling author. Her book, The Art of Asking, was inspired by her TED talk of the same name.

She writes beautifully of falling in love with her husband, author Neil Gaiman: “…we edged towards each other, day by day, like two cautious but wounded animals, and started to poke experimentally at each other’s hearts, opening up little doors one at a time. It was slow, self-conscious work; we both knew how damaged we were. At least we could joke about it. And bit by bit, we started to fall in love.”

Gaiman was at the Toronto show, and came onstage to read “Democracy” by Leonard Cohen, as Palmer played the piano.

After her North American leg of the tour, Palmer heads down under to rock in Australia. Find info on U.S. and Australian tour dates here.


“Almost every important human encounter boils down to the act, and the art, of asking.

Asking is, in itself, the fundamental building block of any relationship. Constantly and usually indirectly, often wordlessly, we ask each other — our bosses, our spouses, our friends, our employees — in order to build and maintain our relationships with one another.

Will you help me?

Can I trust you?

Are you going to screw me over?

Are you suuuure I can trust you?

And so often, underneath it all, these questions originate in our basic, human longing to know:

Do you love me?

-The Art of Asking, by Amanda Palmer


ANNE McCARTHY is a contributing writer to The Telegraph, Ms. Magazine, Second City Network, Bonjour Paris, France Today,and more. She has a Masters in Creative Writing from the University of Westminster in London. She is a graduate of the Writing Program at Second City, and the Soho Theatre Writers Lab. She lives in New York City, where she is writing a memoir about life in London.