Review: Nick Cave: Live at the Pantages 10/1

“Conversations With Nick Cave” lasted three hours, with no intermission, split 50/50 between solo piano numbers and questions from random audience members. This might sound a bit self-indulgent, and I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t. However, it turned out to be one of the best concerts I’ve seen in a long time. The questions ranged anywhere from lighthearted exploration of Cave’s rockstar history (“what was it like hanging out with Leonard Cohen?”) to life advice (“how can I find love?”) to deeply personal topics (“how did the death of your son impact your views on religion?”). One guy even proposed to his fiancée, which was immediately followed by a gorgeous rendition of “Into My Arms” (the only fitting song for such a moment in Cave’s discography). Overall, the audience came up with a good mix of questions, all of which Nick answered thoughtfully and generously. The setlist was top-notch, mixing essential touchstones (“The Ship Song”, “O Children”) with a generous helping of deep cuts (“Shoot Me Down”, “West Country Girl”) and eclectic covers (T. Rex’s “Cosmic Dancer”, Roland Howard’s “Shivers”). Cave’s stripped-down piano renditions worked fantastically, whether the song was already suited to such a format or had been creatively re-arranged to fit it. While I’d still love to see a full-scale Bad Seeds performance, this turned out to be an extremely satisfying night with one of my favorite musicians of all time.

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