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CONCERT REVIEW: Historic State Theatre, Minneapolis [25/04/2002] by Rob McFarlane Print E-mail
Sunday, 13 August 2006

And on my way home that night, I was rather pleased that I had taken in a Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds show. Rather pleased indeed.

However, on my way to the show, I was excited also. Like a student cramming before a final exam, I was intently listening to the latest Bad Seeds offering No More Shall We Part. I smirked as I listened. Explaining whom I was going to see earlier to my friends was relatively useless. Common responses could have been associated to questions like "Do you know the annual rain fall in the Amazon Basin?" or "What are the core ingredients to a Meatloaf recipe?". One friend was gracious enough to ask for a review of the Steven Tyler and the Good Seeds show I was about to witness. Regardless, I was happy as a clam to see the concert.

Much of the bands I listen to I have seen a couple of times on tour. I have never seen Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds play before. I had been eagerly anticipating this for some time now. All I knew about him was from the dark and somber songs and lyrics. A friend in England introduced me to the music some two years ago (albeit, I did have "(I'll Love You) Till The End Of The World" from a soundtrack. I just wanted to hear the music. Much to my surprise, Nick is a very energetic man with good charisma. The Bad Seeds in much the same way enjoying the moment.

The moment, indeed, started with Nick walking onstage with the seven Bad Seeds to raucous approval of 5,000 people in the room. Nick exchanged pleasantries with those seated in the front rows before sitting down for "As I Sat Sadly by Her Side". The night began!!

"Do You Love Me" was the next question of the night. Nick pranced from side to side of stage with energetic fervor that I was not expecting. Next, he thought he "take a walk today". "Oh My Lord" was played! This is a great live song as the crowd was definitely getting into the show. "How have I offended thee? Wrap you tender arms round me. Oh Lord. Oh Lord. Oh my Lord". I can still hear it in my head. "The Boatman's Call" followed.

The stage lights turned a hellacious red as you could feel the heat for "Red Right Hand". Again, Nick ambled about the stage in his shirt, jacket, and slacks with combed back hair. Another question was asked and answered: "Where is Mona? She's long gone". "15 Feet of Pure White Snow" rocked from wall to wall as Nick hammered away on the piano!! This was another highlight of the night. More and more of the crowd were taken to dancing in the seats and rows.

It was duet time as "The Weeping Song" was played. Another tremendous track of the night! Folks in the front rows abandoned their seats as some seated in the rear of the auditorium began finding more advantageous seats up front. Security tried to escort fans back to their seats, but Nick would have none of that. He politely invited people closer to the stage, and we did not abuse our privilege.

The story of a quiet, small town as it comes to grips with modern times played next. "God is in the House" played to us as if we were toddlers in a library for Saturday morning story time, not in a condescending manner by any stretch of the imagination. The story line is great especially for me living in metropolis and coming from a smaller town in the middle of nowhere. The line "Well-meaning little therapists. Goose-stepping twelve-stepping Tetotalitarianists" aroused a full guffaw out the audience. It is rather humorous hearing Nick enunciate the entire thing.

The sobering "As We Came Along this Road" gently played next. The piano riff at the end of the song is still resonating in my head today. "Buffalo Bill" followed this with the scary almost paranoid "Hallelujah" playing next. This is the story being told to the adults on the same Saturday morning that their toddler children sat and heard "God is in the House".

A breathtaking rendition of "The Mercy Seat" followed suit. I love this song! It was very different hearing it played acoustically while Nick sang through the nearly wholly innocent life of a man on dead row. I thought through the first half of the song that it couldn't be played this laidback acoustically. Patience saw me through this ordeal as all instruments would succumb to the raw power of this song. Nick, two-handedly holding his microphone and lurching forward with torso at a 45-degree angle and legs separated for balance, yelled the final verses as the Bad Seeds picked up the tempo to perform a feverish ending. Well done!! Following this epic, "No More Shall We Part" took us to our first encore.

After stagehands scoured the stage with mini flashlights and hunched over instruments as if taking blood pressures or heartbeats, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds reclaimed the stage.

"Into My Arms", a simple yet brilliant song in all respects played. Next, the first song ever recorded by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds was played. Forgive me, but I've only been listening for two years. The name of this song is beyond my scope.

Exit stage left does Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. No house lights or music, so the crowd stays to yell, clap, and cheer some more.

Back to play "A great American song", as Nick explains, is he and his seven Bad Seeds. "Stagger Lee" closes out the night as the screaming of musicians, stabbing of violins, pounding of keyboards sends the crowd out to the darkness of night. Very different than when I entered the venue with the Sun shining and birds chirping.

I will never forget the fact of Nick Cave dancing (by way of kicking legs and feet) across the stage that night. Bending over to scream into his microphone. Crooning us while playing the piano, or sharing the stage during "The Mercy Seat" and "The Weeping Song". It was a very different version of him than I would have guessed. The Bad Seeds were tremendous also – this being somewhat of an introduction to them for me. They were very professional and pleased with the night's outcome.

The crowd responded excellently by dancing in the aisles and forcing themselves up to the front of the concert hall ' every fire Marshall's nightmare, I myself gained 20 rows in better seats. I sat through the beginning of the show with a flabbergasted smirk on my face and chuckling throughout most of the night not believing I was there.

And on my way home that night, I was rather pleased that I had taken in a Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds show. Rather pleased indeed.


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