Sunday, June 18, 2017

Nick Cave at the Beacon

Living in a daze of excitement trying to finish all the work that had to be finished before the show. My last meeting goes until 6, the show seats at 7, New York is sweaty as fuck and smells like unwashed humanity, metal, and exhaust. It's almost 100 and the sun is unrelenting as it pounds down on the city. Hellion is on his way to meet me, having secured the night free to see the show.

At the theater we stand dying in front of the doors, desperate to get into the cool and out of the unforgiving eat of the late evening. We are at the head of a line of Cave fans that goes down at least a block. 

Bag searched, entry secured, I get t-shirt and some wine and we wait to be seated. At the shows most of those seated in the Orchestra pit and adjacent rows would be on their feet. I desperately wanted to sneak down and join them, but security was over the top so we settled into our seats to wait the beginning. 

The stage was dark and set, Nick was opening and closing, no patience to sit and wait through another band and all the set up and break down entailed. There was not a single person in the audience that cared. Everyone in that room had ears, eyes, feelings, only for Nick. Our dark god of musical lyricism, a hundred dark stories of love and redemption; the devil and the angel and death following along behind love on the journey throughout human dealings. 

I sat with my dear sweet lover and we smiled at each other, at the stage, at stealing another moment together as our moments together become shorter and shorter. We waited and I relaxed against him, trying to contain my anticipation, my excitement, my joy. 

The theater is filled with low ambient humming coming from the stage, orchestral like a soundtrack but with very little movement. The chords themselves are not enough to engage, but the eerie quiet of it draws the audience in. We breathe, slowly breathing. The crowd enters quietly, almost reverently to get into seats and positions. There is very little chatter as the house waits in anticipation of the moment. 

Slowly, there is a mild crescendo in the music and suddenly it begins to take shape, slowly, the sounds is synthetic, unnatural, too natural. Then suddenly, we hear the dark whispers on stage, the lights dim, the stage is set, the band walks out. The orchestra pit audience rises at once and rushes towards the stage, the stage turns blue. 

The artist, the singer, walks out alone after the band. He sits in a chair while the audience strains towards him. Hands and faces uplifted, everyone, everyone, wanting to be right where they are, wanting him, the band, each other, to know how bonded we are in this moment over the music, the man, the storytelling. 

And he is there, on stage, a storyteller. He is our father and our grandfather and the chief elder, slowly, carefully, deliberately, telling us the story so that we might know, so that we might understand and maybe so that we might react. 

     All the fine winds gone
     And this sweet world is so much older
     Animals pull the night around their shoulders
     Flowers fall to their naked knees
     Here I come now, here I come
     I hear you been out there looking for something to love
     The dark force that shifts at the edge of the tree
     It's alright, it's alright
     When you turn so long and lovely, it's hard to believe
     That we're falling now in the name of the Anthrocene

We listen. We listen with all our hearts, open minds, open to what it is that needs to be said. We continue to listen as the audience swells, as this man who has become more of  man for so many who listens, throws himself into the arms of the audience. Allows us to caress him, allows us to hold him. There is a bonding here. A willing trust that is more intimate than one could imagine in a crowd of thousands. He undulates across the audience, in their embrace, surrounded by warmth. The hall becomes warm, we all sweat, we all lose ourselves.

I wept bitterly through all of I Need You. I laughed as swayed with Red Right Hand. I screamed my voice raw at the stage during  Stagger Lee. I watched as Hellion mouthed along the words of Higgs Boson Bules and fell even more in love with him than I could possibly imagine. We held hands, he kisses the back of mine, and we float into the final encore, as the crowed leaves the stage as the final chords of Push the Sky Away break over the hall.

We are stunned silence. Rolled through grief, longing, joy, pain, and out the other side again. Being reminded that, in the end, the strength is, has always been, within our reach.

It was rending and beautiful. In my wildest imagination I could not understand how the show in Chicago could be any better.

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