Sunday, November 19, 2017

Live: Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds @ Tae Kwon Do (Athens, November 16th, 2017)

"I am transforming, I am vibrating, look at me now!" sings Nick Cave during the climactic finale of "Jubilee Street" and I think these words are the best way to describe his formidable way of commanding the stage and, indeed, the whole of the packed Tae Kwon Do arena on Thursday night.

I had the pleasure of attending numerous Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds gigs over the years and each one has been a unique experience: the noisy chaos on the stage of Club 22 in September 1987, the triumphant return a couple years later at the historic Rodon Club, their first large scale performance in Athens at Lycabettus Theatre in the summer of 1990, their performance right before Nirvana at the muddy Reading Festival of 1992 and several more up to their previous show in Athens in 2008 (see our review here), when "Dig, Lazarus, Dig!" became our Album of the Year.

Given that their return to Athens comes right after the release of the band's most solemn album to date, the mournful "Skeleton Tree", it would be an easy mistake to make if you thought that this was going to be a more introverted, lower key performance. In fact, the presence of seven songs from this album on the set list did add a more melancholic mood in parts of the show, particularly at the beginning with "Anthrocene", "Jesus Alone" and "Magneto" opening the set, but the intensity we've come to expect whenever Nick Cave takes on a stage, gradually started building up by the fourth song, the slow-burning epic "Higgs Boson Blues", and by the time "From Her To Eternity" and "Tupelo" hit us with the force of a tornado, any thoughts of a quiet night out were quickly dismissed.

The balance between dark melody and menacing intensity was exemplary throughout the 15-song main set, which came full circle when tremendously powerful renditions of "Red Right Hand" and "Mercy Seat" led to the soulful "Distant Sky" and the sweet sadness of "Skeleton Tree".

However the best was yet to come. The three song encore started with Nick Cave jumping into the crowd during "The Weeping Song", walking all the way to the back of the crowded arena and ending up on the stands, from where he sang the rest of the song among the lucky fans and conducted the whole stadium to a clap-along!

Even more amazing was the brutal force of "Stagger Lee", with fans being invited to come on stage to participate to the climactic finale of the show, which came to an end with Nick Cave conducting his make-shift choir to the sad and beautiful melody of "Push The Sky Away"; a grand ending for a truly epic concert, the stuff of legends indeed!

Here is the complete set list of the show:

Check out below Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds performing "Jubilee Street" and "Skeleton Tree" live in Athens, at the Tae Kwon Do arena:

Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds - Jubilee Street (live in Athens)

Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds - Skeleton Tree (live in Athens)

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