Saturday, June 17, 2017

One More Time with Feeling

I have, I have always had, I will always have, a ridiculous Nick Cave Thing. Bands come and go, some stay in the lineup far longer than they should, some have finally passed the point of listen-ability, wallowing in a sound that was for generations far older and to the modern lack influence. Some get better, and with few exceptions, are consistently amazing.

Then there is Nick Cave.

This is not a sex thing.

Perhaps, there are elements of a sex thing to it, but at the bottom of it, the core, it is the mastery of words, musical phrase, melody, harmony, rhythm and emotion. The artist, through his influences and influences, has managed to be consistently at the edge of the right musical place and the right musical time.

For contrast, take into consideration the almost circus like distortions of Dig Lazurus Dig, with it's gaudy over the top cover that speaks of lights and actions back to back with Push the Sky away with somber orchestrations and painful reflections on change, transition and growing older. Each new pieces in the library is a different story. Skeleton Tree is blindingly perfect as an example of a man inside a moment, utilizing that moment to understand the music and understanding the music because of the moment. Last year was a hard year for me and a hard year for Nick Cave. The album becomes a perfect way of address a year of love and loss, connection, endings, renewals, human kindness, human need.

The pointed need in almost every song. It's beautiful. The fans, most of us believed he'd never tour it. With the release of the film documenting the creation of the album, why would it need to be toured. Wasn't One More Time With Feeling, a documentary that is a  dive into grief and rebuilding after tragedy, a tour itself? When dates were announced there was a painfully converted glee, a fleeting feeling of happiness and guilt. The desperation with which I wanted to see Nick in concert with the Bad Seeds touring this album, and the guilt of knowing that it was a public flagellation, allowing the millions of people that worship a chance to see such a personally private man morn.

Tickets were hard to come buy, but I managed a pair for Chicago. My workmate was struggling to get some in New York, and I managed to score a pair for her, only to find out later she had her own set for a later date. We discussed the best way to handle it for more than a month before deciding she should take the tickets for the May show, since I had plans. I was jealous she'd get to see Nick Cave twice, but once was more than enough for me to be happy with it.

The year past, the calendar shortened the days grew closer to the US legs of the show. I get a late night text message from my workmate, my friend.

"With Nick and over the moon."

It happened that the second set of shows was going to be in June, when I would also be in New York. It happened that it would be a Tuesday night, after a long day of meetings. It happened that the date of the show and the realities of life were piling upon, forcing my workmate into a difficult choice: the show or responsibilities.

In the end, with much pain and hand ringing, she let me have the tickets in lieu of paying her back for the tickets she picked up. And so it would come to pass that I would see Nick Cave twice in the same week in two entirely different cities.

The experience is worth describing, even though I doubt I can do it any justice with my words.

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