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Dead Can Dance: Bring Their Ethereal Music to Rare Concert Event

article & photo gallery by L. Paul Mann

One of the most elusive and effusive pop duos in the music world brought their haunting music to San Diego, during one of only three shows in California on their current world tour. The band has rarely toured since their breakup in 1998. The reclusive Australian duo has been producing their own unique brand of music since 1981.

Playing a variety of traditional instruments from across the globe, the pair embraces world music in a fashion like no other band, even singing at times in dead languages that have not been heard in thousands of years. The setting at Humphreys, one of the most beautiful places to see a concert in California, could not be more conducive to their musical style. With the venue trimmed to less than a thousand seats, even sitting in the last row, fans felt like they were having an intimate evening with the band. Set right in the middle of San Diego bay on the artificial Shelter Island, the venue afforded an awesome view of boats in the adjacent harbor, silhouetted against a spectacular sunset just before the band took the stage. Palm trees scattered about the tiki themed resort, rustled in the breezy skies. The air thick with the humidity of far off storms drifting in from Mexico, blew warm waves of air into the venue.

Dead Can Dance

The duo, backed by two keyboardists, two drummers, and an occasional bass player, took the stage at 8:15 and played a solid two-hour set. Comprised of mostly material from their new album, their set also contained an all too infrequent occasional gem from their past that had older fans salivating for more of the early material. The uniquely eerie vocals of the pair, combined with their strange music, sent many fans into a trance like dream world.

One can imagine singer Lisa Gerrard, singing her eerie lamenting wail to lure ancient Greek ships onto the rocks like a siren in Greek Mythology. The range of her singing partner Brendan Perry is equally impressive, in different octaves and together they create haunting other worldly vocals. In one song Perry channels an 800-year-old dead songwriter from Spain singing a Moorish wail.

The concert was a unique and rare event at the same time. Rarely does anybody get to see a live Dead Can Dance performance and each tour is uniquely different from the last. What an amazing accomplishment in today's world of cookie cutter ideology including the ADD world of today’s music scene. Long live Dead Can Dance.


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