Event Review: Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
Chicago Theater, Chicago, IL
Quite possibly the best show. I heard later that there was a brief fight somewhere in the audience of the Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds performance Friday night (April 26) at the Chicago Theater. From where I sat, however, Mr. Cave had complete control; no one in the room was as evil as he was, or as good at demonstrating it. There was a roar of excitement between each song, but the moment Nick Cave made a gesture for quiet, we were.
Friday's performance was mesmerizing enough to win converts, but Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds have been cultivating the adoring obedience of the damned since their 1984 release "From Her to Eternity." Aside from his contribution to modern music, Mr. Cave is an icon of Australian creepiness. He's also better versed in the rotten underbelly of American legend, as exhibited in his novel, And the Ass Saw the Angel. His lyrics are both romantic and twisted, filled with Gothic references and Biblical imagery. And his stage presence is part Mic Jagger, part Revivalist preacher.
This was my first Nick Cave show, and naturally I rediscovered many of the songs over and over, particularly selections from No More Shall We Part, the latest release. The nuances of the satirical and sinister "God is in The House" were more stirring live. The opening song "As I Sat Sadly By Her Side" was a smooth introduction as each member came out individually to join Cave. During"Red Right Hand," from Let Love In, Cave's shadow grew giant on the red-lit walls. With songs from almost every album, fans, myself included, ended up in alternately elated and clutching out heads. Highlights included:
When the Bad Seeds returned to the stage for the first of two encores, Cave ordered the audience to "sit down."
At the beginning of the show, an audience requested "Stagger Lee," Cave's reinvention of classic folk song "Stackalee," an original American murder ballad. He refused, saying that it would be "inappropriate." He then played it for the second encore.
After starting "No More Shall We Part," Cave slipped, muttered "Oh, fuck it," and played "Love Letter."
Before the show, out on State Street, I spotted a young man I've seen on the subway occasionally for years who looks exactly like Nick Cave. He was being politely surrounded by people. I heard someone laugh and then say, "But you're not him. Right?"
I'm almost afraid to see Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds ever again. This was just one of those perfect shows. But if any other fans of Cave are yearning to see a show, but balking at intimidating ticket prices I advise them to go for it. If you are going to take a thirty-dollar chance on a band, this is the one.
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