AU ABROAD

Live Review: Nick Cave - Festival Theatre, Adelaide (30.11.14)

It's not surprising that when the tickets went on sale for Nick Cave's solo Australian tour some months ago, they sold out all over the place. The prolific Australian performer has stuck out as a revered and favoured artist the world over, regardless of what band or project he's performed with, and so when it was announced that Cave would be taking to a run of smaller theatre venues across the country - fans primed themselves to pounce on that opportunity. Joined on stage by Bad Seeds members Warren Ellis, Martyn Casey, Barry Adamson and Thomas Wydler, Cave performed his first of two shows in Adelaide overnight at the famous Festival Theatre and well, he didn't disappoint.

The stage set up was simple, with a beautiful black piano taking centre positioning, gleaming in the dim lights of the theatre. Sheeting draped the back of the stage, with simple lights strung above the instruments. As the band walked out, the crowd erupts for the first of many times over this two hour performance. To consider Cave's extensive catalogue of work, you're not quite sure where they're going to begin and what areas he's going to cover, though it didn't stop fans from yelling requests at various points of the event. "Play "Deanna"!" and "Stagger Lee, Nick!" were popular pleads, though both didn't get a look in, with Cave bantering back and forth with the voices being lobbed down at him.

The Bad Seeds' 2013 album Push the Sky Away was given a good run, with the main set kicking off with "We Real Cool" and winding up with a brilliant rendition of "Jubilee Street". The tones of melancholy and bitterness are realised through each creak and break in Cave's voice - 'Miley Cyrus floats in a swimming pool in Toluca Lake/And you're the best girl I've ever had...' from "Higgs Boson Blues" is a heartbreaking moment only matched that aching guitar provided by Ellis throughout.

The stomper tunes in "Red Right Hand", "Love Letter" and "The Weeping Song" are performed as part of a powerful triple whammy, with the front row of the seated crowd stretching their hands out to Cave as he reciprocated the gesture. "Let's try this out," Cave asserts, before launching into "From Her to Eternity", noting how odd it is for people to be sitting down. He screams through the song, launching himself across the stage; dressed in his classic black suit, raven black hair slicked back, Cave is like a Gothic matador on the stage, his movements strong and entrancing. Even when he sat back at the piano following a performance of "Up Jumped the Devil" or "Breathless" and thanks the crowd, the simple "Thank you!" riles the crowd. "Nick Cave is God!" is yelled down from the dress circle area and Cave looks up, cheekily offering a, "Aw, get out of it", before someone follows with a "Save us, Nick!". Fittingly, Cave sat back down at the piano and simply says to the guys, "Let's do "God is in the House"".

"Into My Arms", "The Ship Song" brought on the tears I expected, though it was in an arresting delivery of "Black Hair" that fully sent me over the edge during the main set. And of course, having "The Mercy Seat" follow soon after had me murmuring "Are you kidding?", as I recollected myself for what felt like the hundredth time. The encore, which saw the band return for five more songs, had people now stood up out of their seats. "Now it looks weird with you standing up!", Cave exclaims, before they play "We No Who U R" from their latest release. Women have moved as close to the front of the stage as possible without impeding others' view and when Cave makes his way over during "Breathless", no doubt he gave them an experience they won't be forgetting for a while yet.

Rolling out "Lay Me Low", "Jack the Ripper" and finally, "People Ain't No Good", Nick Cave and (basically) the Bad Seeds left the stage to their second standing ovation for the evening. Knowing that they're going to be doing it all over again tonight in Adelaide and then over another 13 dates is baffling to me, because as we left the theatre, I felt all types of exhausted. If you've got tickets to any of the upcoming shows, you're definitely going to leave impressed and wanting to go back through and rediscover some of those brilliant moments of music.