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CONCERT REVIEW: Wiltern Theatre, Los Angeles [16/04/2002] by Starlight Print E-mail
Sunday, 13 August 2006

I have been excited to see Nick Cave since the canceled concerts in September, so the anticipation was building, and I could barely contain myself on the way there.

We arrived two hours early, which was okay for me since I was living in the moment. The Wiltern is a wonderful, old-Hollywood-style place of art-deco design, a beautifully detailed building looming over the corner of Wilshire Blvd &
Western Ave. As I rounded the corner, the marquee came into view and brought about the reality that Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds were actually playing there tonight.

Parking for the Wiltern is in the four story parking structure in the back. We parked and walked toward the theatre. We were on the third story and could look down and see the roadies moving here and there. Still more excitement. Things got quiet, the sound of an unmistakable voice drifted by...Nick Cave was doing a sound check and we were lucky enough to hear a touch of it. I couldn't recognize the song, but that didn't matter, it was a gift.

We finally lined-up in front of the theatre, I thought it was funny that the line started behind a person who had just decide to sit, whether a line was supposed to be there or not, a line is what it became. I was please at the diversity of the Nick Cave crowd, from as young as a lovely ten-year old girl with pretty crayon red colored fringed hair, to husbands and wives in their - I would guess - sixties.

The two hours moved fast, for me anyway, and before I knew it, around 7:30 pm, they let us in. They checked bags nothing more, so the line went fast.Everyone ventured toward the bar. The little girl and I went to the restrooms...no getting up in the middle of the show for us.

We found our seats, mine was the second row loge right in the middle I was happy, however that lovely little girl was happily seated with her dad in the front row, lucky girl. I left my seat once more to watch the sea of black flow in, It was a sight, all those people know who Nick Cave is...I was beginning to think I was the only one, but there they are, My People!

The lights flashed and flashed again. I had to find my way to my seat in the dark as Khan played on stage.

Khan was great. Kid Congo, who I had seen playing with many other bands including the Bad Seeds in 1987, seemed to really be happy to be on stage in his home town of LA, had the biggest smile on his face. Khan was loud and the vibration of their sound was a beautiful start to the evening. I couldn't make out alot of the words but the singer had a beautifully deep voice. The singer and Kid seemed to really like each other, playing "bump and grind", leaping on top of each other, and vibrating to the music. They ended with a great song, especially for the LA crowd, a cover of The Cramps, "Goo Goo Muk" with Kid's familiar guitar sound it was fun to hear.

The lights went on and the stage crew prepared for the Seeds. I went to view the crowd milling around the lobby once more. All the black and red was a sight to see. Once again the crowd was diverse...from lovely ladies in the Goth Gowns, to jeans and T-Shirts, and of course, the tailored suit group, the flow of black made me smile.

The lights blinked once and I went to my seat, I wasn't goin' to be caught in the dark this time.About ten minutes later the lights went out and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds strolled on to the stage. Blixa wearing sunglasses and a black suit (no hat), Conway Savage looking a little scruffy and unshaven but not quite bearded. Warren Ellis-fiddle in hand-wearing a reddish
suit, and I believe Thomas Wydler (though I may be wrong) wearing a suit shirt and pants. The rest- if any -I can't name.

And then there is Nick Cave towering in a tailored dark gray suit and lighter gray shirt, pointy black shoes. Wow that's Nick Cave standin' there "I could not wipe the smile from my face."

"Thank you", Cave said, then without hesitation bam...."Do you Love me?" the crowd went wild. He belted it out with a moment here and there to glance at the cue card set to the right of the stage. Amazing. Then to my unbelievable surprise, "Oh My Lord"...and when he started..."I thought I'd take a walk today..." I almost fell out of my seat. I had so wished that they'd play that song. One of my favs. He sang it with such power and feeling and in the musical roar between the- I believe-second and third verse, the sound rose and rose until it almost exploded. Once again unbelievable.

"Lime Tree Arbour"...sung with Conway at the organ...was very touching. "Red Right Hand" was so well done with Nick standing at the foot of the stage preaching the words, raising his long powerful hand up in the air, Nick Cave became the "Manic Preacher" I love to see. The light would flash red with each bell ring. It made one want to convert to what ever he was preaching.

The song list seemed to be perfectly laid out with heavy energy driven songs mixed with restful ballads. "As I Sat Sadly By her Side" was sung beautifully at the piano. With such feeling and beauty due a song like that...of course I wanted him leaping around. Then a real treat, Nick Cave introduced Blixa who would be singing the next...."The Weeping Song"
perfectly done. Blixa stood there looking so...Blixa. They sang to each other, and one moment Nick tried to get nearer to Blixa but the microphone screamed and protested, so sadly that moment was lost, but not the song. Beautifully done I never believed that that song could be done good live, but I stand corrected.

"Fifteen Feet of Pure White Snow"...started in silence. "Where is Mona..." It sent shivers. There stood the "Manic Preacher" once again, "Raise your hands up in to the air, is there any wonder, oh my lord". "We Came Along this Road"...Wow, this was another I really wanted to see and hear live. Nick sang this so well his voice is in really good shape, I'm so happy that this was the first show on this tour. He was rested and sure let us have his all.

"The Mercy Seat" blew me away...it was the raw, hard version which started fast and just got faster, and louder, and faster and louder and Nick shrieked the lyrics, it just made you want more and more and more.

"No More Shall We Part"...played once again at the piano. Beautifully done. Until someone in the audience decided to get angry about something so in the silence of the song you would hear someone yelling some profanity and then of course some one cursed him to be quiet from the other side of the theatre. Nick just kept singing.

The Encore was -I believe as the memory of the evening fades with the age of the day- was "Into My Arms" at the piano, It was so nice watching Nick breathe these words. "Henry Lee" was another one, sung by Nick Cave alone. I love watching Nick sing this song, very well done.

Then "Saint Huck"...Nick screamed these lyrics like he was twenty, you could envision a young Nick Cave with the Birthday Party, wonderful. The vision was only interrupted by Nick's occasional glance at the lyric sheet placed on his piano, to remind him of the next part...It's a long great song and I will not hold this safety against him. I find it humanizing.

Then the last song the unforgettable "Stagger Lee".
WOW, AMAZING. Nick moved and sung and seemed to really enjoy this one. The lights and the fun in this song made it a great one to end with. For a moment the audience seemed to become confused, the song seemed to end the normal way, but the music continued just long enough to gain some applause and then Nick Cave started with an alternate ending...The Devil Came for Stagger Lee and Stagger Lee.. Shot him. Of course.

Beautiful. The Lights. The Bad Seeds. The Voice. The Energy. The Place. Beautiful. It was too short but just enough. Nick Cave put so much energy into the show I just wanted more and more. I can't wait til the next show. I'll be on the floor which means I'll be standing, and dancing, and playing.

Sorry that some of the songs aren't in order and I may have missed a song or a moment. It all becomes such a wild blur these days.

 

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