Nick Cave and Warren Ellis Sage Gateshead 24 September 2021

Nick Cave is an enigma. A uniquely passionate, authentic performer. A preacher. A vampire. Someone nick 1whose fans are 100% devoted and committed to him. He’s all these things and more. So Laura, Dale, Jackie my carer and I went along with fellow pilgrims to experience the unique event that is a Nick Cave concert.

There was massive security around this concert. Not because of Covid, but rather because of Nick Cave’s desire to ensure that no tickets were resold. His following has become larger and larger over the years and the inclusion of his song “Red Right Hand” as the theme tune to Peaky Blinders has opened up his music to a wider audience. So the Sage is now a small venue in which for Nick Cave to perform. His last tour, with his band The Bad Seeds, took in arenas around the country. So even with the majority of tickets having a hefty price of £93, the concert sold out very quickly. Thus, come the evening of the event, the lead booker had to turn up with the rest of the party, carrying photo ID and proof of address. A check was made that nick 2these matched the details on the tickets and we were all issued with wristbands before we could gain entry.

This time Nick was accompanied by Bad Seeds guitarist and multi-instrumentalist Warren Ellis, he of the manic electric violin, mesmerising keys and crazy beard. The duo were augmented by three vocalists and a bass player. Now Laura and I have both seen Nick Cave several times before, both solo and with The Bad Seeds, and we are familiar with most of his more well-known songs. However, this time many of the songs were unfamiliar to us. Nick was very much in the preacher mode, alternating between front of stage and his grand piano. There was no support act and they performed for almost 2 1/2 hours, without an interval. Nick was on great form, prowling stage front, NICK 2021 1dressed in his usual smart black suit and white shirt, jabbing at the front rows with his hands, his wiry frame moving swiftly from one end of the stage to the other. The songs were dark, doomy and delivered with the usual Cave passion. One particular highlight for me was a very emotional version of T Rex’s “Cosmic Dancer”. The crowd loved it, cheering him on and watching closely his every move. There is something about this man which commands respect and devotion unlike any other act. As usual, we left feeling we had just experienced something quite special. For a short couple of hours on 24 September 2021 in Sage Gateshead Hall 1, God was in the house.

Setlist: Spinning Song; Bright Horses; Night Raid; Carnage; White Elephant; Ghosteen; Lavender Fields; Waiting for You; I Need You; Cosmic Dancer (T. Rex); God Is In The House; Hand of God; Shattered Ground; Galleon Ship; Leviathan; Balcony Man.

Encore: Hollywood; Henry Lee.

Encore 2: Into My Arms; Ghosteen Speaks.

Thanks to Jackie for taking the photo

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