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CONCERT REVIEW: Wiltern Theatre, Los Angeles [18/09/1998] by Jonathan Aldecoa Print E-mail
Sunday, 13 August 2006

It's been nearly two years since I saw Nick Cave in Los Angeles at The Wiltern Theatre. Why write this review now? Mostly because browsing through your collection of concert reviews I see that there is not one of this show. That, and the fact that I've been listening to a lot of Cave ever since I finally got a chance to hear him speak on the '99 released "Two Lectures" CD from King Mob. Lastly, I think readers of your site will find some interest in the review.

By the time the North American Tour was schelduled I had already owned all of Nick's solo albums. I don't go to many shows because I only feel comfortable going to shows in which I know a lot about whoever it is that is performing. Along with Nick Cave, I've been lucky enough to see Bob Dylan, Tom Waits and more recently Lou Reed. Now if only Leonard Cohen would perform soon again in the Southern California area.

Now. Comments on the show.

I wasn't able to get tickets. They were sold out. On a friend's suggestion it was decided that will would get there early and try our luck. We got there three hours before the show had started. I talked to another fan who was standing in front of me. I informed him that I hadn't been to a Cave show before. His eyes got wide and he related to me that I was in for a good time. He claims to have bummed Cave a smoke at a prior show while he was in the front row. I think he may have been a fibber, but it didn't matter much to me, it was a good story. He also claimed to have gotton pissed with Cave in a bar in Brazil. I then met another fan in line who was a Cockney who didn't even know that Cave was in town and was hoping to get in as well. He was very exicted at the prospect. I had a feeling I was in for a good show at the response of these two people.

My friend and I got very good seats. We got lucky. We paid less than if we had gone through ticketmaster.

Cave started the show with "Far From Me", but first lit up a cancer stick. He in fact smoked throughout the whole show and I was wondering how he had a good voice with having that particular vice. Not one song that was played during the show was as good as their studio versions, they were all BETTER. I get a sense that Cave likes to improve on his work, that he doesn't like to let it rest. The changes from the studio versions weren't great, they were subtle. I noticed that during the performance of "Into Your Arms" he sang it in a slightly different key. It was very beautiful to hear. Someone from the audience yelled out "sit the fuck down!", he was referring to a few who felt compelled to stand. I was upset at this outburst and it made me angry. The lights dimmed.

When Cave came out for his encore, he brought out a few members of L7 to help him perform "Deanna". I turned to my left and there was a guy in a wheelchair, dancing and smoking a joint. It was great. I liked being at a show where this kind of fun was taking place. Cave isn't all about gloomy sad songs. "Deanna" had this guy up in a roar, great rock music. Cave closed the show with "Stagger Lee". It was a great way to end the show. Cave was mean and lean and by this point his black suit was stripped down to only his white collered shirt, which was open. It was a great night. After these two years I still remember it as one of the best performances I've ever seen.

While I was still standing outside in line, waiting to get into the show, a person in a passing car asked us who we were waiting in line for. She didn't know who Cave was. When asked what kind of music he played someone in line responded that he was an "artist". I thought the answer was a bit pretentious, but looking back on that night it fits just right.


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