Introduced in the manner now customary – “Amanda F*cking Palmer” – and opening with the fan favourite piano pounding bruiser Astronaut, long-time followers of the former Dresden Doll and spouse of fantasy author Neil Gaiman could be forgiven for thinking this was business as usual.

The first hint at a new incarnation of the Boston native came in the curious but inspired choice of support, musical stand-up Andrew O’Neill. Blending elements of the scattergun stream of consciousness of a Tony Law or Brian Gittens with the supreme affability of an Eddie Izzard, O’Neill’s self-deprecation and righteous anger at the most ridiculous of things was a welcome inclusion.

O’Neill himself was a gateway to the newly goofballed Palmer, who interspersed darkly humorous or just pitch black cabaret classics Missed Me, Coin-Operated Boy and Mrs O with the lighter meditation on a new mum’s comic failures, A Mother’s Confession. A never-more endearing stage persona made nearly three hours (if you include a not really impromptu interval ukulele cover of Radiohead’s Creep) fly by.

The second half revealed something more substantial though: an on-stage confessional regarding a ‘rough few years’ of public scorn (that whole Kickstarter affair), abortion, miscarriage and the death of loved ones accompanied the desolate The Bed Song and the utterly heart-breaking highpoint The Ride as Palmer’s performance entered the realms of greatness. The prospect of an October Dresden Dolls reunion (unexpectedly announced for the first time here), based on the quality of newer material, is truly something to relish.