A dazzling and quite literally dizzying gig from Nick and co.
2004 was coming to an end. It had been a year marked by a sudden and intense explosion in my social life, especially during the spring and summer months. By November things had settled down somewhat, but I still found myself much more active with socialising than I ever had been in my life previously. As a result of this, for the next few years, most of the gigs I attended were primarily social events to enjoy with friends – and yes, I do realise that this is how most people approach gigs, but prior to this point, I had always preferred solitary gigging, where nothing could get in the way of connecting with the band on stage.
This autumnal gig was the first of many that I attended with my new Glam Best Friend, with whom I had become practically joined at the hip over the course of the year. It turned out we had an impressive overlap in our musical taste, but she had not at this point ever been much of a gig goer. So how better to introduce her to the world of moshing and mayhem than a gig from Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds?
This would be my fifth gig from Nick and co, after first seeing them at the Big Day Out in 1993, then Brixton Academy in 2001, and then two incredible gigs at the Hammersmith Apollo on a Friday and Sunday in June 2003. More recently I’d fallen in love with the sense of mystical melancholy in their 2004 albums “Abattoir Blues” and “The Lyre of Orpheus”, and was naturally incredibly excited to see them again. Perhaps, however, not quite as excited as my glam friend, who had not been to a gig for many a long year. From my diary:
‘She was all excited to be At A Gig and so we went down second row, mad-violinist side, and Nick was there and did many many wondrous tunes from his two wondrous new albums.’
As is typical for this era of my gigging life, my diary entry is brief, but what I did note down give some indication of the intensity and power of this gig.
‘And, it could possibly be the Greatest Gig Moment ever, at the end of “Hiding All Away” which has been sneakily quiet for six minutes and then Nick says, “we all know there is a war coming, coming from above” and then Nick and the 10000 backing singers and God and all his fiendish minions all start bellowing “THERE IS A WAR COMING” and good lord, it’s so FANTASTIC and MONUMENTAL that the universe verily caves in in celebration.’
That is, unfortunately, all I wrote about the main set, before moving on to describe the encore. And the main point to note from the encore is that I was clearly not as well hydrated as I should have been that day – it seems I had forgotten the lesson I’d learned in 1997 when I passed out from dehydration at a Placebo gig in Manchester.
‘And then he went away and came back and did “Red Right Hand” and “Do You Love Me” and “Deanna” oh yeah! But I was not able to enjoy it as much, alas, as I had started feeling a bit dehydrated and ill. By the time “Stagger Lee” rolled expletively to its end I had to make my way right to the bar at the back for some water. ‘
It was a wrench to give up my position at the front, but at least it was the end of the gig and I wouldn’t miss anything amazing, right? Oh dear.
‘Then Nick only comes back on and does “The Mercy Seat”. Bugger.‘
Despite this, my short report ends on a positive note with ‘Fantastic gig‘. And if I’m being completely honest, I don’t think there’s any other way a Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds gig can be.