First published on Mess+Noise, here.
From all directions toward the Opera House steps, distinct from the perambulating tourists, come a stream of people wearing black. Closer to the steps the darks begin to outnumber the brights. It looks like a pilgrimage.
For many, it is. A couple of years after Brendan Perry and Lisa Gerrard met at a little band happening in Melbourne, they decided Dead Can Dance had no future in Australia. “The Australian music scene was … middle-of-the-road FM hard rock and the alternative scene that did exist was too small,” Perry has said. In ’82, DCD played a farewell concert at Melbourne’s Crystal Ballroom, moved to London and did not return.
Until now. The Concert Hall foyer is filling for the sold-out show. Aging goths and guys in 4AD tees drain flutes of champagne alongside opera lovers – drawn to Gerrard’s unparalleled voice – and world-music fanatics who’ve long appreciated the duo’s virtuosic dedication to mining centuries-old musical traditions from the Middle East, Africa, Greece, China and Haiti (to name a few).