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The show of the preacher

25.000 square meters and 3.140 seats ready to receive the Australian singer. A priori, the chosen location makes you predict an evening to quietly enjoy from your seat – but there is nothing farther away from reality. With the years, the popularity of the artist has grown until reaching an absolute admiration for the figure, and here it is important to stress the word “figure”.

The script was already broken at the entrance, with its stairs that lead you to the scene full of fans who had left their seats in order to adore their deity. The good Cave immediately scented that the stage was more than ready and – knowing perfectly well which keys he had to press – took a massive dive into the crowd.

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All of that led to the fact that there were two distinct concerts: on one side, there was the ever growing number of people who mass together at the margin of the stage with their raised mobile phones; on the other side, there were those who stayed in their seats, followed the show from afar and never stopped watching the people who moved through the aisles towards the stage walk past them. The situation was a little bit strange and did not exactly help to create an ideal atmosphere for the concert.

The veteran musician had come to the date with the survivors of the already disappeared entity called Bad Seeds. It is absolutely true that the band is still awesome: Thomas Wyler at the drums (?), the elegant Martin Casey at the bass, and the bearded Warren Ellis multifunctional as always (though much more reserved than before), but it is also true that at the moment it is mere accompaniment for the show and the absolute shine of the figure Cave. He is the one who knows what the audience wants and he gives it to them plentiful.

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After starting with the dispensable Water’s Edge, they at once aired two great classics as if they wanted to lose ballast: The Weeping Song in a decaffeinated piano version and the famous Red Right Hand. The celestial organ of Brompton Oratory sounded and the Aussie singer-songwriter came to take the hands of his worshippers. Right after that came the most messianic moment of the night with an extensive Higgs Boson Blues, a great song of the tepid Push the Sky Away (Bad Seed Ltd. 2013).

With the patient roadie who helped him out with the cable, Cave went almost until the middle of the auditorium, sorrounded by followers who wanted to touch him or take pictures of him. All the while, he talked to them with the microphone in his hand, putting the others’ hands on his heart and singing «can you feel my heartbeat». The scene made you think of a preacher who provokes religious ecstasy and does miraculous works, even though he also (and that is the worst part) reminded you of some kind of Alejandro Sanz or a singer-songwriter of sweetened ballads.

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Then followed more classics likeThe Ship Song, again alone at the keyboard, the bucolic Love Letter, the much applauded Into My Arms with hundreds of abhorrent mobile phone lights; the tremendous From her to Eternity and Tupelo, a very intense The Mercy Seat – even though played only on the piano – and the crescendo of Jubilee Street, which was the great climax before the encore. After the break, the always brilliant Jack the Ripper stuck out, even though less strong than usually, and the matter was closed with Push the Sky Away and Cave giving the preacher before the masses once more.

Valued from an isolated point of view the concert doesn’t show fissures; very good sound with thunderous moments and the amazing voice of Cave. Nevertheless, those who have been following him for a longer time by now and thus have seen him live with the real Bad Seeds are witnessing a transformation of the artist towards something else. He seems more well-off, with his superstar tics, and his most worthy companions have already left him.

NICK CAVE

AUDITORIUM OF THE FORUM

BARCELONA

21/05/2015

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