Tonight I’m going to attend a conversation with Nick Cave at the Cirkus Arena in Stockholm. Well, me and hundreds of others.
Läktare höger, row 6, seat 636. Sixth row in the balcony to the right for a conversation. What will we talk about? Muddy-river preachers singing doom, while a woman in blue stockings walks as we dream of her, as we would do anything for her? Crackling rainstorm as Tupelo washes away? More and more waters rising as the muddy-rivers take back the land? Clanging pianos and vibes in a surreal circus clan or a memory of young love under weeping willows? Running from disaster to the City of Refuge? An alcohol and drug-inspired party with love and a gun? Burning bridges and tearing down walls for your beloved? A lovely martyr for the stink of human sin? Or maybe an old devil who’s pawing and scratching to get in, to get to mouth and thigh? Why not murder sprees through bars and nice, quiet, safe homes? And we can always talk about how our love has fallen apart. We can always talk of how love becomes hate. We can read each other despairing love letters. And no matter the pain, no matter the toll we’ll praise this wonderful life. We’ll tell fables of apes and snakes and of abattoirs and of our children who are still not safe. Or will we pine for Lazarus? Or will we push everything away and walk into a distant sky?
Last saw Nick Cave in Dallas at the McFarlin Auditorium where he preached and strutted, kicked and thrust as the Bad Seeds built and demolished, reconstructed and despaired, punched and soothed their music and the night. A security guard wanted the audience not to rush the stage, but they and Cave were not having any of that, so after singing and yelling “I’m Transforming! I’m Vibrating! Look at me now!” from “Jubilee Street” the Man in Black waved off the guards and called his faithful to him. Gabriela and I stood at our seats, holding each other, singing along, well, sometimes I just shouted out and screamed. Here’s the set list.
We No Who U R, Jubilee Street, Wide Lovely Eyes, Higgs Boson Blues from Push Away The Sky, and then from his rich history From Her to Eternity, Red Right Hand, Stranger Than Kindness, Jack the Ripper, Deanna, Papa Won’t Leave You, Henry, Love Letter, God Is in the House, The Weeping Song and then ending with a flourish and ground-splitting fury with The Mercy Seat and Stagger Lee, in which during all the “Motherfucker’s” Cave sang at a hand lifting an iPhone “in came the Devil… with a fucking iPhone in his hand.” For the encore, Cave and the Seeds offered the apocalypse of Tupelo “The Sandman’s Mud!!!” and then the calmer, contemplative aftermath of Push the Sky Away.
Such a wonderful night with Cave’s latest music and a heaven-rending display of his sacred music from albums reaching back to the very beginning of “From Her To Eternity.” Tonight in my adopted home, a city on the edge of a northern sea, I’ll raise my red right hand and once again listen to a revelatory voice speak the mysteries. Bon Appétit!