CONCERT REVIEW: Crystal Ballroom, Portland [21/04/2002] by green
Sunday, 13 August 2006

Even though Nick and the Bad Seeds hadn't played in Oregon for about 14 years, and his songs are very, very rarely aired on the radio, if at all, Portland isn't such a wasteland that this show by Nick couldn't help but sell out. Very nice and satisfying to see that.

First off, the set list:

1. As I Sat Sadly By Her Side

2. Do You Love Me?

3. Oh My Lord

4. Lime Tree Arbour

5. Red Right Hand

6. 15 Feet

7. Weeping Song

8. God Is In The House

9. We Came Along This Road

10.Papa Won't Leave You Henry

11.Hallelujah

12.Mercy Seat

13.No More Shall We Part

(first encore)
14.Into My Arms

15.Saint Huck

(second encore)
16.Henry Lee

17.Stagger Lee

Not sure about other venues on this tour, but the Crystal Ballroom was a GA show, which meant that there was a bit of jostling for a prime viewing position. Mine was 15 feet dead center, which afforded a view of all of the band.

Honestly tried to recollect my memories of the Gun Club and the Cramps live, but I don't ever recall Kid Congo moving and interacting with the audience like he does now. Live, Khan were a two-man band with drum machine (general frame of reference would be Suicide, I guess, though I never saw them). Khan were lively all right, with some double entendres in their lyrics, and Khan and Kid making eyes at each other from time to time. As starlight mentioned, they do perform a version of Goo Goo Muck, which few seemed to recognize, and to really blur the lines, there was a heady version of Marianne Faithfull's notorious Why D'ya Do It? All in all, they were well-received by the audience.

Various highlights from Nick's set: Nick had a minor mike problem during 15 feet, so he went over to Mick's mike and screamed the "Save yourselves" bit there, which caused a smile from Mr. Harvey.

The intensity whipped up by the band on songs like Do You Love Me, Papa, and Saint Huck was truly something to behold. Warren was usally hunched over practically attacking his violin, Thomas and James were bashing away at the percussion, Martyn was rolling along with some killer bass lines that seemed to go through my body, Blixa was furiously strumming away, and there was Nick at center, screaming and bending his body in a number of poses, his vocals being pummelled by the sheer mass of music like one of the hapless characters in his songs would be. I was drained at the end of the night, I wonder how they dealt with such a nightly workout on tour. Way too cool.

About the only disappointments were the songs that they didn't play. Would've loved to hear the wooden dancefloor reverbarate to the strains of Jack The Ripper, From Her to Eternity, etc. but I'm not really complaining. It must be noted that I did hear a few shouts for Shivers.

I think it was before Oh My Lord that someone threw a CD on stage at Nick's feet, which Mick picked up and put on Nick's keyboard. Nick gave it a glance but did not comment on it at all. The large crowd was responsive to the music, and Nick appreciated it. Didn't see any hassles, or hear of any after the show, so I'd consider that a good thing.

Having never seen Nick before, I was blown away by the intensity of the live performance. To all who may harbor a doubt about attending one of his show's, abolish them and catch him as soon as you can.