Nick Cave put on a truly beautiful show at the Gold Coast’s Home Of The Arts last Friday (11 January).
The lights dimmed and the auditorium was filled by the sound of Nick Cave’s familiar and anticipated voice. The show began with a single light upon a grand black piano while a pre-recorded poem of Nick’s filled the room and set the mood.
Naturally, Nick was met with a huge applause as he came to the stage. From the get-go, he ensured the performance felt open and that the wall between himself and the audience was broken. The set was performed entirely solo and was woven through with conversation, banter and a very informative Q&A.
Nick kicked off the show by playing ‘The Mercy Seat’. It was a touching song in and of itself, and it was even more intimate to be able to witness the Australian icon tapping away at the piano in his black suit while the crowd sung along softly to every word.
In between songs Nick would take to the stage, pacing up and down with the microphone and answering the questions of the audience.
He spoke about having two lives. The first involved establishing himself as an artist and musician in the world, whereas the second came along like a powerful wind and shattered that first life into a million pieces.
It was his belief that this shattering is an important moment in the life of every artist and that for him in particular it was brought on by the death of his son. He spoke about how his intentions were altered by this very painful experience and how it had led him to wanting to curate more community-based performances.
Nick was asked all manner of quirky questions and it was interesting to see how gracefully he dealt with each and every one.
There were people who asked about his high school career, about Kylie Minogue, about his punk band Birthday Party, his writing practise, his time in rehab, his understanding of religion and god, the process of script writing, his relationship with Warren Ellis, his new album and even basic life advice.
Some questions were very direct, some were as vague as they come but regardless Nick answered every single question in detail and with respect for the individual who was asking.
Some of his responses were extremely funny. There was one fellow who had walked down the aisle to ‘Into My Arms’ and wanted to know what inspired the song. Nick informed the man he had written it in about 20 minutes while he was in rehab and the crowd went up in hysterics.
Regardless of this gag, Nick ended up playing the song for the guy. This, I thought, was an important element of the show.
Although Nick would make fun of himself and his songs, there was still the sense that he knew his music really mattered to his fans and when it came to playing he ensured he was giving all of himself.
He played ‘Into My Arms’, ‘Henry Lee’, ‘West Country Girl’ and a number of tracks off his last album ‘Skeleton Tree’. Every, single song was touching and beautiful to witness. It felt like being in a freaking lounge room with Nick Cave.
In the end, it was a beautiful and intimate experience where Nick Cave shared his soul and opened himself like a book. For fans of Nick Cave it was an awesome way to peer into the life of a genius and taste for a moment what it's like inside his world.
His performance was amazing and his conversations just as entertaining. He announced he had been recording a new album, and if this performance was any inkling of a new direction with his music, then I’d say we have some very exciting things yet to come from the infamous Nick Cave.
Conversations With Nick Cave continues with two shows in Melbourne this weekend plus dates in Adelaide and Perth