Nick Cave – Cirque Royal

Nick Cave playing live. (c) Getty Images

Nick Cave playing live. (c) Getty Images

Australian singer Nick Cave returned to Belgium on May 9th and 10th for two intimate shows in one of the country’s most beautiful venues Cirque Royal. Together with four of his Bad Seeds, he grabs the crowd by the throat from the start and never lets go for the coming two and a half hours.

After a long world tour following his 2013 release ‘Push the Sky Away’, releasing the tour diary ‘The Sick Bag Song’, composing another soundtrack and promoting his documentary ’20,000 Days on Earth’, Nick Cave found the time to do another European tour. This time he brought along four of his Bad Seeds friends for two sold out shows in Brussels’ Cirque Royal.

Set opener ‘Water’s Edge’ was as haunting as ever and grabbed the crowd right by the throat, followed by a piano-only version of ‘The Weeping Song’. The very first hit of multi-instrumentalist Warren Ellis on the tubular bell followed by the first chords of Red Right Hand never sounded as sharp. “He’s a ghost, he’s a god, he’s a man, he’s a guru”, it was as if Nick Cave could read the crowd’s thoughts at the moment. After he beautiful, yet sad song ‘Brompton Oratory’ Cave moved on with ‘Mermaids’ and ‘Higgs Boson Blues’. Both songs from his last LP, which formed the backbone of the concert.

The interaction with the crowd is what makes a Nick Cave concert so unique. “I love you, Nick”, called a male from the balcony. “Well, then this next song is for you”, Cave shouted back while playing the first notes of the classic ballad ‘The Ship Song’. “I love you too, man, you’re really starting to grow on me”, he would shout again to the same person during the encore. A couple of songs later, during ‘Tupelo’, Nick Cave towered above everyone else in the middle of the seats on the ground floor, balancing on the crowd.

Cave also took the time to perform solo with the emotional “Love Letter” immediately followed by “Into My Arms”. The venue was hauntingly quiet as Cave continued on the piano with ‘The Mercy Seat’ and ‘Black Hair’. It was ‘Jubilee Street’ that got everyone up on their feet in an explosive conclusion to the regular set. Afterwards Cave, cool as ever in his grey suit, just waved goodbye to the crowd.

The band returned to the stage with ‘We No Who U R’, surprisingly followed by the throat-catching ‘People Ain’t No Good’ and the joyful ‘Breathless’. The crowd shouted requests, but Nick Cave bluntly refused to play them. Although real fans can’t be unhappy with rarities ‘Stranger than Kindness’ and ‘Up Jumped the Devil.’ Finishing off with ‘Push the Sky Away’, Cave climbed the balcony and sang to the crowd below as if he was a preacher. “Some people say it’s just rock ‘n roll. Oh, but it gets you right down to your soul”, with those two last sentences, Cave summarized his own concert before leaving the stage for the last time.

Having seen Nick Cave live for the fifth time, he and his (four) Seeds sounded better than ever. At the age of 57 and after 15 studio albums, Cave found the perfect live mix between romantic interludes and tense punk rock tracks. He played a 23-song set that never felt too long.

Setlist:

Water’s Edge
The Weeping Song
Red Right Hand
Brompton Oratory
Higgs Boson Blues
Mermaids
The Ship Song
From Her To Eternity
Nobody’s Baby Now
Love Letter
Into My Arms
West Country Girl
Tupelo
Black Hair
The Mercy Seat
Jubilee Street

Encore:
We No Who U R
People Ain’t No Good
Breathless
Stranger Than Kindness
Up Jumped the Devil
Jack The Ripper
Push The Sky Away

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