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CONCERT REVIEW: Tate Gallery, London [23/05/2003] by Omer Print E-mail
Sunday, 13 August 2006

I actually thought I was going to see Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, and I admit I was surprised that they pulled a concert in the Tate, when it turned out it was just Nick Cave, I admit I was somewhat disappointed.

I shouldn't have been.

The tickets for the show were sold out in 15 minutes, or so I have heard. I got to the scene about an hour before the door opened, only to be informed by the doorkeeper he was SURE there weren't any tickets. I left to look for some, and came back hearing that there WERE tickets. I was majorly pissed when I qued for them, and I was sooo sure I won't get in.

I was wrong, not only did I get in, but I got the absolutely best ticket in the place.

Since Nick was playing the piano, you could only see him from the far left - which is where I was sitting, next t a beautiful girl called Lena.

Nick came to the stage with Mick Harvey, Martin Casy on the bass, Warren Ellis on violin, and some unrecognized fellow on the drums. For all intends and purpuses, this was 'The Bad Seeds'.

They launched straight into 'Wonderful Life', the opener from Nocturama - smooth, very smooth.

Then came 'Mercy Seat', in a strange, subdued version with only Nick Cave and Warren Ellis, and a little bit of drums in the end. What I found interesting in this song (and a few others, like Hallelujah), how Nick Cave stopped the band from rockin' hard.

Hallelujah followed, as well as another song from 'No More Shall We Part' - Gates to the Garden. Both were nice and got good reaction from the crowd.

The next song got a really big crowd reaction. 'Sad Waters', a classic Cave, was performed well. It really does suit the mood of the newer material. I liked it alot, but I was hoping to get some hard rock. I did.

West Country Girl from 'The Boatsman's Call' is not the song you would have expected to hear in a new wave/punk version, but it was. Very good, it was too.

According to the set list, the next song was 'Do You Love Me', although that doesn't seem quite right. Before the song, Nick asked Mick Harvy "Cm -G right?" throughout the concert, indeed, the band kept 'reminding each other' the songs, and Cave especially displaced lack of knowledge in his songs which the crowd found very ammusing. The Band was in fine, fine form through and throught, with Warren Ellis in particularly good mood, talking and counting into the songs "one! two! three-four!". what a difference from his usual "I couldn't care less if you dropped dead " personna.

Anyway, Do You Love Me (Part two) was good, although I do prefer part one.

Next, Nick declared "this next one is from Murder Ballads" . Everyone cheered. "That's not necessarily a good thing" he pontificated "but this is a good one. It is called 'Henry Lee'".

I admit I was not enthusiastic. Henry Lee is hardly my favourite song off Murder Ballads. I was thinking about shouting "do a bad one". I'm glad I did not.

'Henry Lee' was not just brilliant, it was the absolute highlight of the concert. Transformed into a ravaging, dark, apocalyptic tale, it featured Nick screaming whole new verses, and dropping the silly 'bird lit down on Henry Lee' bit. The result was absolutely fantastic.

After Henry Lee (a 'cautionary tale', Cave called it), nothing could have been as good, and indeed, the next few songs were slower and much less interesting 'There Is a Kingdom' from Boatman's Call was generic, and 'Rock of Gibralter' is arguably the weakest song off 'Nocturama'. 'He Wants You', was a little better, however, and 'Darker With the Day', the closing track from 'No More Shall We Part' was really good, altough, like The Mercy Seat, Cave refused to allow the band to go wild on this one.

Wild... Nick Cave started to sing, and I slowly realised I recognised the next song: Hold me up baby for I may fall Hold my dish-rag body tall Our bodies melt together (we are one) Post crucifixion baby, and all undone.

It's a wild world.

An absolutely stunning version, much more like the Birthday Party than the versions he played in the 2001 tour. Hard rocking and genuanely scary.

After this absolute highlight, Cave and company left. We called after them, and predictably they came back for an encore. The encore songs were predictable, but really good:

Into My Arms - someone was shouting something uncomprehensible "We can't do that" Nick responded. "But we can do Into My Arms". The version was good, but nothing special.

Then - dum! dum! "Well I've got a woma-a-an' Nick hallowed, and the excitement was marred by the knowledge that this was the last song.

But what a song - Cave and Co. attacked it with brutality and anger rarely matched by their Punk peers. Nick was screaming like mad, hammering on the piano, while warren's bizarre piano playing was shaking the stage. The only problem with this version, otherwise fantastic, was Mick Harvey singing his 'yeah-yeah-yeah' back up vocal WAY out of tune.

Still, it was a stunning way to go.

At the end of the concert, Lena and I got to the stage, and got the set lists. "I'd really like to get them signed" she said. "Let's go" I said,

We got to the dressing room, and we could see Nick, but they wouldn't let us enter. We asked the man in the entrence to get the set list signed for us 'by anyone in there'. Nick was the only one, so now there are two signed set list (set list which were more impressive than the actual show, I must admit, featuring St. Huck, Thirsty Dogs and People Ain't No Good:-), one somewhere in London, and one next to me in Israel.

Great souveniers from a great, great concert.


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