When this tour was first announced, the thought of Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds playing in arenas was off-putting to say the least. Years and years of fabulous shows in theatres has meant an intimacy with this man’s music which, would surely be lost in the vastness of an arena.
I choose The Motopoint Arena in Nottingham, as it seemed the smallest arena within reach on the tour. Got there early to be close to the front and by 8.30pm the band were on stage, no support ... now the only question is can they handle an arena?
One minute into opener ‘Anthrocene’ and any misgivings are blown away. A Skelton Tree Trio with ‘Jesus Alone’ and ‘Magneto’ kick-off the set with so much intensity it’s hard to breathe. The band are rock solid, the lyrics are raw and Nick is already reaching out to the hundreds of outstretched arms at the front of the stage.
‘Higgs Boson Blues’ is quite outstanding, "Can you feel my heartbeat?" Nick sings as he lays his chest on to the hands of the crowd. This is followed by 'From Her to Eternity', a ravaging 'Tupelo' and ‘Jubilee Street’.
Jonny Greenwood recently said that this year’s Manchester Radiohead show was so special for the band and they seemed to be just at one with the audience that night. Nick Cave certainly swept the entire audience into his arms last night. Forever reaching out, teasing, touching hands, laying on the crowd as they beckoned him further into their own arms. The visual effect was quite astonishing.
The basis of the set was music from ‘The Skeleton Tree’ an album from the very soul of the band that was recorded in the midst of such personal heartbreak last year. Live, the songs were simply stunning.
By the time we get to the encore of 'The Weeping Song', 'Stagger Lee' and 'Push the Sky Away' Nick has invited the crowd on to stage as he traverses into both sides of the arena, getting an impressive way up the rows of seats.
The crowd are just in awe singing, shouting, arms aloft still reaching out for the slightest of contact with Nick. As the final song ‘Push the Sky Away’ is reaching an end and Nick is walking back to the stage, he meets a sliver bushy haired and bearded gentleman. As the guy reaches out his hand, Nick takes it and holds their arms aloft as they sing the chorus to each other.
Even 24 hours later this gig still resonates and will go down as one of my greatest.
Higgs Boson Blues
From Her to Eternity
The Ship Song
Into My Arms
Girl in Amber
I Need You
Red Right Hand
The Mercy Seat
The Weeping Song
Push the Sky Away