Friday night's seats were in the third row (no I'm not his aunty, Katie)so I
had a fabulous view of Nick himself and concentrated on watching him and
didn't really get an overview of the whole thing. Saturday night I was in
the dress circle and got a fuller picture of what was happening.
Sorry to disappoint all of those that think Nick has lost it, that he just
can't cut it without the Bad Seeds, that he's too old *whatever*, this guy
is brilliant. And he surrounds himself with brilliant musicians who can
augment what he does with great skill, while not diminishing their own very
real talent. It's pretty easy to compare an artist with what they've done
in the past, and argue relative merits, but the *proof* (if you need
concrete proof) of whether a performance is warranted or not, is in the
experience of that moment. How did you experience it then and there? Not,
how did you experience it compared with last time. This moment is the only
moment in time that this performance exists. This is what makes Nick's work so compelling for me. Each performance is right here and now. And (so I've heard/read) if he can't do it, if he can't get into the centre of the song and live it again, he just won't. For the last two nights, he's been in the
centre of the songs, and living them, fresh and new each night.
So, Saturday night:
I had no sense of Susan's bass playing from any of the tapes I'd heard of
his UK gigs, or even from Friday night's gig. Sparse, powerful and
extremenly timely. Loved it.
Jim was just as amazing as ever. Totally integral to each song that he
played on. I think that's a given.
Warren spent a little less time with his back to the audience, and managed
to get told off (jokingly)by Nick for picking up his squeeze box instead of
his violin for one song. (Can't remember which one, I'm afraid the left
brain still isn't working to speed.) He did the triangle thing to
perfection again. Eight strikes.
The set list was the same as the one I didn't give you for Friday night -
BUT, we got Dead Joe for the second encore, as well as Little Empty Boat!
And this is where I can satisfy another complaint of someone on the list
(Andrew, I think), the lighting was brilliant in this. Lots of black and
white downlights, quick changes that followed Nick to the second. Warren
accompanied and was completely manic, then completely silent, then
completely manic, then completely silent. This guy can make an art of
silence. Nick outdid himself for this one. Sang it, rather than spoke it,
and played like a dream. He dedicated this one to 'the troops, who have
been to every concert where the set list had been almost the same every
night'. He then said that if it didn't work, to blame the troops. The
troops can rest easy. It worked.
- Dead Joe, all out sound, light, visual, sensory experience
- Wild World, Warren went off, Nick's grunting was better than words
- West Country girl, loved Nick's wordless sounding to the intro
- Loom of the Land, Nick could recite this word for word over several days
and I wouldn't get bored hearing this song.
- Susan's bass playing.
Another standing ovationg from the whole theatre, which Nick seemed to take in a bit better than last night. He also seemed a lot more relaxed. He
intro'd one song as 'a really sad song that starts out miserable, and goes
downhill from there' (same proviso as yesterday on my ability to quote
accurately). One of the audience called out 'that's not like you Nick' to
which he chuckled appreciatively. He also broke a piano string - I think it
was on Stagger Lee, which was probably quite fitting. This was intro'd as
'as song about a bad man who was having a really bad day'.
That's about it for Saturday's gig, I'll try for a review for Sunday. Or
maybe I'll just keep it to myself!