Monday, 9 October 2017

On Stage: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds @ Ziggo Dome



Like with good whisky, Nick Cave only gets better while aging. In a career that stretches over fourty years, he never has disappointed. Even better, whenever he releases new music it exceeds expectations and never fails to impress. In that long career he slowly built a growing fan base and where I saw him in the Heineken Music Hall (now called AFAS live) a few years ago, he is now playing a sold out Ziggo Dome that is triple the size.

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds @ Ziggo Dome Amsterdam, October 6 2017



What can you expect in such a big venue when the last album Skeleton Tree is so personal and intense because of the tragic passing of his son during the recording sessions? We don't have to wait long for the answer as the show starts with 'Anthrocene' which immediately sets the mood for the rest of the night. Cave grabs us by the throat and won't let go any more, his face close to ours while his eyes are full of fire. No fancy production with stunning visuals, but a simple light plan and a huge cloth as a backdrop, that's all he needs.



He keeps walking up and down the huge stage and of course gets in touch with the people in the front rows a lot. Sometimes he will wave them to come closer, but it is as if he's asking us all to come closer. He has something to share with us. He whispers it in our ears, his dark stories. Or he will spit it in our faces, his piercing eyes looking right into our soul. He is wrestling demons, chases them away, kicks them out, laughs at their faces, while his dark music is embracing us.



Sometimes he will look more fragile digging deep into his music. The beauty of 'Into My Arms' for instance, while his The Bad Seeds are playing in the background, but who are so important in creating this atmosphere. The focus is mostly on his last two albums playing gems like 'Higgs Boson Blues', 'Girl In Amber' and the absolute gorgeous 'Distant Sky' with Else Torp joining in, projected on the backdrop while her beautiful voice offers consolation. All we can do is watch and listen in awe as everyone in the big venue is absolutely quiet, sending shivers down my spine.



A few of his biggest hits are mixed in, a fierce 'From Here To Eternity', a haunting 'The Mercy Seat'. During 'Red Right Hand' Cave starts singing too early, one of the rare mistakes tonight. He faces his band, seems to snigger a bit with Warren Ellis and then continuous. Ellis, his right hand and partner in crime, has a more discrete role this time, but Cave always knows he's there, giving him a big hug to the end of the show. During 'The Weeping Song' he jumps into the crowd and finishes the song at one of the cameras set up in the hall. When he comes back he is bringing lots of people with him, who dance to 'Stagger Lee'. He is obviously enjoying himself and tells them to sit down to end the show with 'Push The Sky Away'. Cave managed to resize this venue to a living room, as if he's playing only for you and a few friends. He makes you forget about everything around you, sucks you right in with his charisma and intense songs. Like a good whisky I want a sip of him every time I get a chance.



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Setlist
01. Anthrocene
02. Jesus Alone
03. Magneto
04. Higgs Boson Blues
05. From Here to Eternity
06. Tupelo
07. Jubilee Street
08. The Ship Song
09. Into My Arms
10. Girl in Amber
11. I Need You
12. Red Right Hand
13. The Mercy Seat
14. Distant Sky
15. Skeleton Tree
Encore
16. The Weeping Song
17. Stagger Lee
18. Push the Sky Away


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