Nick Cave's voice still echoes vividly in my head as in an eternal deferred loop. The intensity, the delivery, and his presence on last week’s show in Berlin were a new level of experience for me. Few musicians can flaunt a brilliant discography with a bold content and attitude like him.
A few years ago, I had the opportunity to attend the screening of “20,000 Days On Earth” directed by Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard at Kino International during the Berlinale. Nick Cave was one seat behind me and I watched his film with a contained excitement due to the proximity I had with his enigmatic presence. This masterful drama-documentary shows his human side as well as his closest collaborators and portrays his creative process. I must admit I never bought any of his albums, but this film provoked my curiosity for both his music and writing far more.
Nick Cave is a fascinating musician and writes suggestive stories through his lyrics and novels. His concerts have a distinctive intensity and a riveting narrative that draws the audience instantly. Such as the lyrics of his 1996 album “Murder Ballads” that immerses the listener into a morbid narrative of murder stories, revealing his darkest depth.
Nick Cave relocated to Berlin during the eighties where he established a significant part of his career. It was in his apartment in Kreuzberg where he wrote "The Mercy Seat" in a time of his life when amphetamines were substantial. It was also in this city where he wrote his first novel "And the Ass Saw the Angel." He also had his first movie appearance in Wim Wenders' "Wings of Desire" performing with The Bad Seeds in Berlin. His ties to this city are strong and watching him perform in Berlin was not to be missed.
The show was a sold out event at Max-Schmeling-Halle in Prenzlauer Berg as well as their first live performance in Berlin in three years. His longstanding band played flawlessly to a crowded audience while Nick Cave jumped between a fine strip and the edge of the stage to come in direct contact with the audience; touching their hands as he passed by. He wore an elegant black suit and a visible gold chain on his chest. Seeing Nick Cave on stage with his tall and slender figure embodied a sophisticated old-fashioned dandy, and his movements were seemingly electric and feline.
The Bad Seeds stellar performance begun with a force I haven’t seen in a band in a long time. The show was ignited by the line there was a girl call her Animal X, 22, 24, 25 it's hard to tell that left the audience both breathless and full of energy. The crowd clapped along and Nick Cave acted as a conductor making the clapping stop at times and back on in a synchronized manner. He delivered a liturgy as very few rock stars are capable of doing.
His particular black Mass began when the chords hit “The Weeping Song.” Suddenly he stage dived into the audience, as the security staff was attentive of the star moving among the fans. He landed back on the strip with the line paw paw paw motherfuckers.... The audience responded with an outstanding ovation. It was a mesmerizing and moving communal experience. The classic “Stagger Lee” followed being one of the most memorable moments of the concert.
He then invited the front row audience to join him on stage, testing again the patience of the security staff. This was a magical moment seeing the audience take over with the same excitement for being next to him on stage. He was like a Messiah; guiding the audience as in a religious sermon. His electrifying performance and the emotionally intense show was a night to remember.
Nick Cave is in his 60’s but he is still the dark lord and the greatest front man and storyteller of all times. His unique talent and music will never get old. A man who sat next to me in the concert captured it with a t-shirt saying OLD BUT PUNK.