Dead Can Dance Concert

Posted by: on Aug 15, 2012 | 23 Comments
Dead Can Dance

Reviewed by:
On August 15, 2012
Last modified:March 28, 2013


Last night I was able to experience an fairly rare concert by one of my favorite artists, Dead Can Dance. A unique transcending aural experience that can penetrate deep into your heart and soul to fill it with mesmerizing warmth.

Dead Can DanceLast night I was able to experience a fairly rare concert by one of my favorite artists, Dead Can Dance. A unique transcending aural experience that can penetrate deep into your heart and soul to fill it with mesmerizing warmth. There is nothing quite like the music of Dead Can Dance lead by the powerful haunting vocals of Lisa Gerrard and Brendan Perry.

The Dead Can Dance Sound

Lisa Gerrard and Brendan Perry of Dead Can DanceIt can be challenging to describe Dead Can Dance, they create an ambient world music style that constructs soundscapes of mesmerizing grandeur and solemn beauty. Mixing in heavy influences of Gregorian chant, African polyrhythms, Gaelic folk, Middle Eastern mantras, Gothic, Etherial, and a dabble of art-rock. Even that does not fully explain their music, this is something you have to experience yourself to understand.

They are very much an underground band with a cult like eclectic fan base of devoted listeners. Drawn in by fans of ambient, gothic, chant, folk, and world rhythm listeners of all ages. Once someone is introduced to Dead Can Dance, they will eventually become hooked into the haunting and hypnotic songs that find their way deep into our heart and soul. I’ve been a fan since my friend introduced me to them in 1993 with the release of their sixth album Into the Labyrinth. That album resonated deeply within me and since then I frequently have at least one, if not all Dead Can Dance, albums in my listening rotation.

New Album and Reunion Tour

Dead Can Dance: AnastasisFormed in 1981, disbanded in 1998, and reunited for a world tour in 2005 makes them a rare act to witness in a live concert. I was unfortunate to miss their 2005 tour and after that I thought they would never reunite and tour again. When they announced that they had indeed reunited again and were going on tour with the release of a new album, Anastasis, I jumped to get tickets for the Los Angeles show. I’ve always wanted to experience them live and this was probably the one and only chance to catch them on tour.

Needless to say I was ecstatic when I got the Dead Can Dance tickets!

It is coming up on 17 years since Dead Can Dance has released a new album, the last studio release was Spiritchaser from 1996. The fact that they made a new album along with the tour makes it all the more exciting, the new album Anastasis is out now and sounds just as amazing as their other albums.

The Dead Can Dance Show

Dead Can Dance ConcertThe Los Angeles show was playing at the Gibson Amphitheater at Universal City. A terrific venue for shows as almost every seat in the house has a great view of the stage, plus the sound in there is solid. I got three tickets for myself, Jenny and Ryan. Jenny was already a fan, but Ryan has yet to get into Dead Can Dance and this was something I wanted him to experience. Ryan‘s music tastes are already wide and varied, much more so compared to when I was his age. While as a teenager he may not be ready to fully get into the band, but this provided a good opportunity to introduce him to this type of extraordinary music.

Half way through I asked Ryan if he’s enjoying the show, he turned to me and said “It’s a tantalizing experience”.

Opening Act

We arrived there a few minutes early and sure enough they opening artist started right at the 8:15pm showtime. Opening the show was David Kuckhermann who played an interesting new instrument called a Panart Hang and Handpans. It looked like a large wok pan or silver metal bowl with indentations around the perimeter, almost looked like a UFO or a metal turtle shell, by hitting or tapping these indentations or around them with your fingers would generate a very unique sound.

Opening Act by David KuckherhammAfter a few songs he switched to a Riq, a middle eastern tambourin which he magically wielded this instrument alone with his fingers to create a rhythmic drum beat driven song. It was impressive and I regret not capturing a video of it, however check out this solo video to get an idea. To close his opening act set, he finished with his friend Miranda Rondeau who played a large frame drum and sang while he played a smaller frame drum. This song I did capture on video, and you can see it below. I’m always amazed by the music one can produce using only one instrument, and David Kuckhermann showed us his impressive talents.

Video: Dragonfly by Miranda Rondeau with David Kuckhermann

The Main Act

Dead Can Dance started to assemble on stage, as Lisa and Brendan walked on the audience erupted in applause with their delight and enthusiasm to honor the reunited artists. They started off with a new song titled Children of the Sun from their new album, then proceeded to play over a dozen songs compiled from their collection albums. Often alternating songs lead by Brendan or Lisa singing with a few duet songs of them signing together. The amazing thing is, that after so many years, they sounded spectacular.

Dead Can Dance Concert PhotosDead Can Dance Concert Photos

Every song exploded with energy and power that resonated deeply through the theater into the audience.

Dead Can Dance Concert PhotosDead Can Dance Concert PhotosThey didn’t have any fancy stage show or theatrics, and they don’t need it. Their music is powerful enough to let your imagination run wild without the need for any distractions from the stage. This works well for them as they focus on what they do best, making hauntingly powerful soundscapes that tantalize your senses and penetrate your heart and soul for a mesmerizing experience that you’ll never forget.

I captured several songs on video using Jenny’s Sony Cyber-Shot camera, while not super high quality, it does an exceptional job at capturing dark low light events in HD size and quality for a compact point and shoot camera. Here are six songs captured from the show (7 including the opening act from above), Anabasis, Sunvean, Niehika, The Ubiquitous Mr. LovegroveDreams Made Flesh (This Mortal Coil cover), and  Return of the She-King. The sixth song got cut off at four minutes due to the camera’s battery running out of juice. The sound on these videos turned out surprisingly good and well worth listening to regularly.

Video Playlist: Dead Can Dance

By the end of the show, after the encores, we were in bliss. It was an incredible show to experience by truly unique artists and I’m happy that I was able to share this experience with Jenny and Ryan. An experience that we’ll remember for a lifetime and continue to experience through their music. Thank you for the amazing show Lisa Gerrard, Brendan Perry, and Dead Can Dance!

Lisa Gerrard and Brendan Perry

Dead Can Dance Resources

Concert Setlist

Here is the complete setlist from the Dead Can Dance concert on August 14th, 2012, at the Gibson Amphitheater, Universal City, CA.

  1. Children of the Sun
  2. Anabasis
  3. Rakim
  4. Kiko
  5. Lamma Bada
  6. Agape
  7. Amnesia
  8. Sanvean
  9. Nierika
  10. Opium
  11. The Host of Seraphim
  12. Ime Prezakias
  13. Now We Are Free
  14. All in Good Time


  1. The Ubiquitous Mr. Lovegrove
  2. Dreams Made Flesh (This Mortal Coil song)

Encore 2:

  1. Song to the Siren (Tim Buckley cover)
  2. Return of the She-King

Encore 3:

  1. Rising of the Moon

Have you experienced Dead Can Dance live? Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below and thanks for reading!

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  • Jofo

    We wish you had edited and checked the grammar more closely. Sorry, I am a bit of a stickler here. Regardless, I did forward the link to friends. Many thanks for the vid clips of the show! Btw, did Mr. Perry sing “The Carnival is Over” in LA? I didn’t hear it at Wolf Trap in VA. But, then again, we left during the encoure due to the horrendous traffic leaving this venue on a school night. Again, thanks for the clips of your show out there.

    Anyone understand the origins of “Carnival?”

    Puno hvala, Jofo

  • Pingback: Top 10 Music Albums of 2012 by Terry Majamaki()

  • Squeak

    Please, could you tell me how long the entire concert was (I presume future concerts are going be approximately equally long). I have to plan my trip and I’d hate to miss the encores… or the last train home.

    • They did 19 songs with 3 encores. Checkout their setlists from each show to get an average estimate of what to expect from their shows.

      • Squeak

        Thanks for your reply. I, of course, did check those and I am quite excited in advance 🙂
        But my question is more about total duration. To be specific – if the concert begins at eight, can I be sure that it’s completely over by, say, 23:40, so that I can catch the midnight train?

        • Hmm…when we saw them, I believe the show started around 8:30pm with the opening act and by the time the last encore song was done I think it was around 11:40pm. You might need to keep an eye on the time once the encores start and if needed head out early to catch that train.

          • Squeak

            Thanks a lot again, you calmed me down 🙂 and your setlist was very helpful too, I think it was exactly the same in Prague.
            The opening act started at 20:00 precisely, we saw Lisa and Brendan at 21:01 and the third encore was done by 23:07, leaving us with time to spare.

          • I’m glad I was able to help and that you were able to experience an incredible Dead Can Dance show.

  • sophia

    I have been a hardcore fan of Dead can Dance for many years. I heard about the show they played at the Beacon in NYC too late to mesh with my schedule. So I thank you a thousand times for posting this review. My friend in fact sent me this thanks to my endless nagging. He saw the show in Virginia.

    After watching this video I feel much better about not being able to attend. Even though the singing brings tears to my eyes, the show itself is in fact boring, from what I see here. Bummer.

    • I’m glad you enjoyed the review. I didn’t think they needed to do any extravagant show to entertain us because the music, on its own, is so powerful and moving that it empowers our imagination to create the our very own show.

  • Sam

    Thanks a lot for the review! This was a great night indeed.

    • I’m glad you enjoyed it, thank you for reading my review.

  • Blaze

    Thanks for the review. It’s always nice to see how someone else’s experience compares to one’s own. I love that you have introduced this band, which clearly transcends generational differences, to a younger individual that is likely able to appreciate and return to their music throughout his lifetime.

    I hate to nitpick, but I can’t help but point out that it’s actually Brendan Perry, not Branden. It isn’t a grave error but will definitely effect the outcome of a Discogs or Spotify search for his solo material, which is WELL worth checking out for anyone that hasn’t yet.

    • I can’t believe I messed that up, thank you for pointing that out, I have corrected his name. Indeed their solo work is really great, however it has not struck as deeply with me as the two of them combined with Dead Can Dance, still its all fantastic music. Thanks again for sharing your thoughts.

  • Forgive me, but only a long-time dedicated DCD fanatic would point this out. “Dreams Made Flesh” is not really a This Moral Coil “cover,” since Lisa was the original artist on the “It’ll End in Tears” album.

  • matt

    Thanks for uploading these videos, Terry, and for your very nicely written review. You described them so well! I was lucky to be there too, seeing them for the first time after being a fan for many years. I agree, they sounded phenomenal! I loved everything about this show.

    • indeed!

    • Thanks for reading the review and checking out the videos, It was an amazing show.

  • Hey Terry, thanks for the review!! The show was marvelous, I especially enjoyed Rakim, Seraphim, Now We Are Free, Niehika. Lisa’s voice is just transcendent, piercing.

  • shane monson

    Terry, Excellent review and summary of the concert! Thank you. I too was in attendance and like you have been a fan for years, since the late 80’s when my brother introduced me, and I’ve been a fan ever since. I kept thinking what an honor it was to witness them live after having thought I never would. I was not disappointed. I appreciate the links, videos, photographs etc that you’ve posted of the show. That takes time and work for the benefit of others and is most appreciated. Even the opening act has links so I can learn more about who he is and his music. I have bookmarked your page to my favorites and look forward to reading your other posts. thanks again, Shane

    • Thanks so much for the feedback Shane! It was an incredible show that will stay with me forever. The opening act was great, it’s always fun to learn and experience new artists.