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CONCERT REVIEW: Regent Theatre, Melbourne [14/01/2000] by Amanda Kelly Print E-mail
Sunday, 13 August 2006

I sat and wrote this longhand last night after the final Melbourne gig,
crying bitter tears into my herbal tea, knowing this was the only way I'd
wind down enough to go to sleep. It's over! I am absolutely not
exaggerating when I say I could take (at least) three more nights of Mr Cave and his cronies. For me, every night re-invented itself and was completely new - even though I knew what song was coming next. Of course I still couldn't give you a set list - so thanks Pat for providing one or we'd all be stuffed!

The song that keeps clashing into my mind (literally) is Dead Joe. I think
that the reason no-one much ever comments on the lighting and sound is that because when they're good, you don't really notice them. So, after
(Andrew's?) plug for them, I was hyper-aware. By tonight, I was secure
enough in my observations of the rest of the content to notice their
contribution to the overall experience. I think I mentioned last night that
for Dead Joe, there were lots of flashing white downlights, spot on with
their timing. Well, there were. The contrast between Nick & Warren's manic
instrumentals, and Nick's recitation (almost singing) of the words is now
stamped on my consciousness indelibly. The other song that the lights were
used equally effectively was Stagger Lee. Really following Nick's cue's -
intense with the rise of the music, and quickly and easily falling to a soft
white haze around Nick when he pulled back.

I don't think I really have mentioned enough about Nick's actual
performance, although that's definitely been my *main* focus each night!
His voice really has risen to the challenge of this new format. It really
struck me when it was just him and the piano, how exposing this must be for
him, to be playing his own songs, accompanying himself, with no-one to fall
back on, in his hometown, in front of 4000 odd people. (I'm not suggesting
no-one else has done this, but I wasn't watching anyone else). He really
held it all together and it sounded so rich and soulful, I cried. Not
ashamed to say it! This man has a *voice*. It's got all the creaks and
groans that we (I) know and love, and it's full of texture, colour and life.
Particularly when he's singing about death and loss.

Highlights tonight:

Straight to you - eight strikes, perfectly time once more. Thanks Warren!
(Obviously not all that Warren contributed, but I love the complete
absorption with which he did this simple thing. Equally as intense about it
as his most exalted, wild violin playing)
Dead Joe - read the stuff above
Wild World - dedicated to Tracey Pew and sublime enough for whichever place Tracey now resides
Loom of the Land - same reason as every other time I've heard it. Mainly
for the words of the chorus though.
Nick himself - going places that other artists just won't, exposing his
children for the world to look at, chew over, throw up or digest, and
putting on a fucking good show.

???.Which, by the way, the audience *loved*. I'd say that tonight's
audience really lived the music as it was being played. There was applause
right in the middle of Mercy Seat (which was particularly menacing in it's
stripped back state tonight), and lots of spontaneous applause throughout
other songs. And it was very nice to hear that Nick was happy to be back
home, which he loves though we're as neurotic as ever! Goodness, neurotic, well I guess we did foster the Prince of Darkness.


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