October 9, 2017

Nick Cave London O2 and Amsterdam Ziggo Dome – Sept 30 and 6 Oct 2017.

A tale of two tickets.

I wanna tell you about a girl…I met on Facebook, on a Nick Cave page, we shared a birthday and a love of The Bad Seeds…we got on, we clicked, we talked, we arranged to meet, we fell out.

And so began a saga of the Nick Cave tickets which unfortunately will be a lasting reminder for me of Nick Cave’s 2017 Skeleton Tree tour.

It all started simply enough with me seeing a post saying “Nick Cave tickets bought for the O2 and it happens to be my birthday”…it happened to be mine also so I replied and slowly became infatuated with someone I had never met.


I had already purchased a ticket for the Amsterdam leg, and had arranged to travel with a friend who chose not to go to the gig but just accompany me on the trip, and soon I found myself booking one for the London leg too. Me and my Facebook friend made plans to meet at the London gig, as the time passed we made plans to meet in my home town of Brighton before the gig and in hers afterwards. We were a virtual couple. We’d spend hours on the phone talking and weeks anticipating the arrival of tickets. I’d send her photos of my guinea pigs…she liked them.


And then just a matter of days before she was due to fly down to visit a dropped phrase led to a misunderstanding and in the space of a few seconds a 7 month virtual relationship disintegrated over the phone line in front of my eyes. I told her to keep the plane ticket I had bought her to visit me but suggested she used it to visit a daughter instead. And I, wanting to avoid accidentally running into her in London, was left with a ticket to a gig I no longer wanted to attend.

I posted the ticket to her, I had standing whilst she had sitting, and urged her to use it to attempt to participate in the onstage encore the North American legs had shown were happening, and perhaps attain the hug I know she longed for from the god that is Nick Cave.


And then there was nothing…we didn’t talk for weeks until I rang her to see if she had used the flight ticket…she hadn’t and said she was unlikely to use the ticket I had sent…I asked her to send it back as I knew someone who would love to use it…it returned a couple of days later with notification that she too was now in possession of tickets for the Amsterdam leg.

So 72 hours before the London leg I sold the ticket to a friend …24 hours later she gave it back to me amid concerns that anti touting measures might see her turned away from the venue – suddenly with no other option of ridding myself of the ticket it again looked like I would be seeing Nick Cave on my birthday…no bad thing and I consoled myself that the chance of running into someone in a crowd of 20,000 were next to zero.

I got to the gig with hours to spare before the doors open and skulked around the O2 eyes peeled, not really knowing if I was hoping to see this friend or was trying to avoid her. The doors opened and I entered the venue and secured myself a place as close to the front as possible, also desperate for the chance to be on stage within touching distance of the band.

As to the gig itself, it certainly didn’t fail to deliver, I had heard all the tracks played live previously with the exception of the 7 from the latest album, and I had been intrigued to see how these would play out live. The Skeleton Tree album is embroiled in trauma and heartache so I was curious to see how they would play out live. As always I feel Cave’s music benefits from the live performance and the new tracks were certainly no exception. The event managed to both raise you up and drop you down from ecstacy to despair. The standout tracks for me being Distant Sky which somehow seemed to sum up the events surrounding the album and the title track where Cave reassures us everything is alright. In addition to these, Jubilee Street, From Her To Eternity and Higgs Bosun Blues never fail to deliver. A great birthday present.

Full Set List London O2 – 30 September


Jesus Alone


Higgs Boson Blues

From Her to Eternity


Jubilee Street

The Ship Song

Into My Arms

Girl in Amber

I Need You

Red Right Hand

The Mercy Seat

Distant Sky

Skeleton Tree


The Weeping Song

Stagger Lee

Push the Sky Away (with Bobby Gillespie)

And that’s where the tale of the tickets took a new turn, so impressed was I with the London leg I wanted to share this with my Amsterdam travelling companion ( a lover of live music) and surprise him with a ticket for one of 2017’s hottest events. So I started making enquiries into finding another standing ticket. All to no avail, until 48 hours before the gig, I found someone who had two standing tickets at face value, wanting £115 for the pair, I spoke to a Dutch friend to see if he would want to accompany us and when he said he would love to I went ahead and purchased them scarcely unable to contain my excitement.


The night before the gig I made arrangements for my neighbour to feed my guinea pigs in my absence and went to bed a happy man. Imagine then my horror waking the next morning to find in my excitement I had failed to return my pets from their garden run to their secure shed over night and they had fallen prey to an urban fox. I was devastated by the loss and my own stupidity.

I went to collect my travelling companion for the ride to the airport and let his partner in on my secret purchase – she thought he would be delighted. But, as we sat at breakfast at the airport when I broke the news it was met with a stony faced “you shouldn’t have” which I took to mean “I wish you hadn’t” so as we made our way through passport control I voiced my concerns and suggested we see if our Dutch friend had anyone interested in accompanying us instead, a suggestion my travelling companion readily agreed to. At the prearranged time and place our Dutch friend joined us, alone, having been unable to locate anyone able to join the show at such short notice. I hoped and expected my UK friend would at this point offer to use the ticket rather than it going to waste, but no such luck, armed with Pringles and a waffle he returned to his hotel room to chill and watch a Cream documentary on his phone rather than join the show. And so I watched my second leg of the tour, not with one of my best friends, nor a virtual partner but with a distant friend – and with an unused ticket in my back pocket.


Amsterdam Ziggo Dome 6th October Full setlist. (Identical to London show).


Jesus Alone  


Higgs Boson Blues

From Her to Eternity


Jubilee Street

The Ship Song

Into My Arms  

Girl in Amber  

I Need You  

Red Right Hand

The Mercy Seat

Distant Sky  

Skeleton Tree



The Weeping Song

Stagger Lee  

Push the Sky Away


Nick Cave – Den Haag – may 2015

May 18, 2015

So…living in Brighton some Nick Cave gigs are easier for me to attend than others and this works for me. As anyone who knows me well will tell you…deep down I’m very lazy. Imagine then my dismay when I discovered his solo 2015 tour included no hometown leg. I considered a visit to London, I saw my first live gig at the Royal Albert Hall (Dionne Warwick) so that appealed but the dates didn’t work for me and as none of the other UK dates really appealed I decided to go and see him in Berlin…that was until I forgot the tickets had gone on sale and by the time I remembered they were sold out. Copenhagen and a couple of other venues were on my shortlist but eventually I decided to couple a visit to the Den Haag leg of the tour with a friend of mines and my annual Amsterdam visit.


And for that reason I will add the following caveat immediately to this review. This concert was attended after two nights in Amsterdam…my version of events may differ from those of others and in fact of reality.

I had chosen to attend the Sunday date and leaving my friend in Amsterdam I got into Den Haag around lunchtime. An hours stumbling around eventually led to my hotel and I was delighted to realise the venue itself was just two doors away. A quick bath to cleanse away the Amsterdam filth and then a stroll to reconnoitre. I spotted the tour bus and then wandered off and found the “Not Out” bar for a few beers and a bite before the show. 10 mins from the venue and a bar I would heartily reccomend for their IPA, food and warmth of welcome.

Leaving the bar I returned to the hotel, changed and ventured out again, this time with ticket ensconced in pocket. As I went past the tour bus a second time I spotted Warren Ellis catching some last minute fresh air. Approaching him I wished him a great show, he declined a photo, but returned the sentiment…thus far, today was all coming to boil nicely.

Finding my seat in the Upper Balcony I realised I wouldn’t be needing my camera, the World Forum Conference Centre is a good enough venue, the sound quality was great and although no standing seats were sold the seating was spacious…accordingly the accompanying pictures aren’t mine.


Fashionably late Nick Cave, Warren Ellis, Martyn P Casey, Jim Sclavunos and Toby Dammit took to the stage, Dammit a last minute stand In for Barry Adamson. With Cave ensconced at the piano for an opening of We Real Cool and The Weeping Song with the remaining band members unlit it was hard not to imagine you were viewing the album cover of The Good Son come to life. Both the opening numbers were deconstructed and stripped bare and this and Cave’s openess and good humour seemed to be the theme of the evening.

Having lulled the crowd into a conferencical (real word?) hush this was shattered with the latest version of Red Right Hand, greeted with the biggest cheer of the evening which was soon drowned out by Ellis and his first series of incredible feedback roar. By this time Cave himself has left the stage and is gingerly plucking his way through the audience, teetering above them on the backs of their chairs.

As I said, no standing tickets for this venue but as Cave launched into Brompton Oratory the number of those leaving their seats seemed to be growing. The audience seeing Cave finishing a dance/embrace/grope with one concertgoer they sensed their opportunity and as one the first 20 rows abandoned their seats and surrounded the main main in what resembled apostolic devotion. As Higgs Boson shakes the building a succession of devotees venture forward to see if they can answer the “Can you feel my heartbeat?” question.

Next up a live version of Mermaids. In previous reviews I have mentioned both my initial concern with Push The Sky Away’s suitability to a chilled lazy Sunday morning as well my realisation seeing the songs played live how wrong I was. Mermaids live with Ellis’ wild contribution is up there with Jubilee Street. A point noted by Cave himself “Warren, that was fucking awesome”.

By now the songs are coming thick and fast, personal favourites among them were The Ship Song, God Is In The House and Into My Arms…is it my imagination or has Cave used this tour to showcase not only his musical talents but also his latest psyche snapshot…if you combine the best of two albums; Push The Sky Away (7 tracks) and The Boatman’s Call (5 tracks) do they reveal who Cave thinks he is? Regardless…the 6 tracks from The Live Seeds album ensured ensured yer man in row 22, seat 21 went home happy.


Black Hair again shows Cave’s open, vulnerable and self deprecating side… introduced as “I wrote this to try to win someone back, yeah (ironic), epic fucking fail”…then follows this with an incredible solo version of Mercy Seat. More PTSA before leaving the stage only to return with a 3 song encore, including another personal fave People Aint No Good.

Years ago I attended my first Bowie concert with The Glass Spider Tour at Wembley…an awful show where Paul Young as support was actually better than Bowie himself…the following tour Bowie went with a best of tour, which I missed but which blew audiences away. As did Cave last night, for me, if he ever stooped to a “best of” for me this would be it. A great evening…really hard to think who currently even comes close.

Set List

We Real Cool

The Weeping Song

Red Right Hand

Brompton Oratory

Higgs Boson Blues


The Ship Song

From Her To Eternity

Stranger Than Kindness

God Is In The House

Into My Arms

West Country Girl


Black Hair

Mercy Seat

Jubilee Street

Sad Waters

We no who U R (sure I have forgotten the last song)


People Just Aint No Good

Jack The Ripper

Push The Sky Away

Obscure Canadian airline demonstrates perfect social media marketing…I mean altruism.

December 11, 2013


Already 3m shares…perfect lesson in how to convert people who have never used your services or even heard of your brand into ambassadors and brand advocates.

The cost of the reach of message far outweighs the cost of the TV, the flights and all the gifts given but spare a moment for the guy who asked for new socks.

Nick cave and the Bad Seeds, Brighton Dome, October 2013.

October 25, 2013

So… almost 20 years on from the release of Live Seeds, the album which got me into Nick cave, I finally got to see him/them.

There aren’t many artists I have come to through a live album, but nothing unusual there for Nick Cave to prove the exception.

And exceptional it was. Despite Live Seeds Blixa and Mick being absent from the current line-up this lived up to everything I hoped it would be and more. Helped in no small part by them playing 5 tracks from the Live Seeds album.

Both of my other big gigs this year have been stadium concerts with 20,000+ seating affairs, and both were as excellent as two hours seated uncomfortably can be. For the Bad Seeds at the much more intimate Brighton Dome I chose standing tickets. And being a Brightonian we were there sufficiently early to see the support act, Shilpa Ray and the Happy Hookers.

The Happy Hookers were missing and she was the only one on stage as the auditorium filled but her mix of PJ Harvey meets Joplin was worth seeing. The other advantage to being Brightonian was we secured “our spot” three or four from the front, centre stage.

I’d had an IPA and a couple of G&Ts by the time Shilpa finished her set and was just debating whether or not to go for a pee, when The Bad Seeds followed by Mr Cave came on stage. I decided to hold it.


Bad decision…no one told me they were going to play a two hour set.

If it was two hours, despite the strain on my bladder, it flew by. With Jubilee Street being the opening number and then straight into Abbattoir Blues.  The eclectic mix present of quite young and quite old loved it. By the time they commenced the eight minute long Higgs Bosun Blues I was already regretting my decision and was blissfully unaware we were only a third through the set.

I have to say, I am sad not to have seen Blixa and Harvey but the current line up would give anyone a run for their money from the violin bow eschewing Warren Ellis to the, even out-modding Bradley Wiggins, Martyn P Casey.

My personal highlights were… Hiding All Away, Nobody’s Baby Now, (Are You) The One That I’ve Been Waiting For?, From Her to Eternity, Babe, You Turn Me On, Push the Sky Away, Deanna  and Papa Won’t Leave You, Henry all of which would make a pretty fine album on their own.


But I guess that is the thing with NCATBS. To highlight any one tune is a disservice to any of the others. And in the same way I would pay to see the Bad Seeds even without Cave (perish the thought though). And although you’re sorry to see one band member go their own way…but then look at the talent that fills the hole.

Leaving the Dome afterwards I reflected on nice though it is travelling to a European Capital to see some of the bands I have seen this year I am also very lucky to be able to see nights like this in my own city, at this point I left Church Street and entered Jubilee Street where my ride home was waiting for me. I’m sure this is where I came in.

Here’s the set list…

Jubilee Street
Abattoir Blues
Sad Waters
Stranger Than Kindness
Hiding All Away
Nobody’s Baby Now
Higgs Boson Blues
(Are You) The One That I’ve Been Waiting For?
From Her to Eternity
Babe, You Turn Me On
West Country Girl
Stagger Lee
The Mercy Seat
Push the Sky Away


We Real Cool
Red Right Hand
Papa Won’t Leave You, Henry
Fucking Slow song (his words not mine)

Roger Waters’ The Wall – Live Amsterdam Arena Sept ’13

September 12, 2013


Thank you Dave Coleman.

Dave Coleman got his brother Peter into Pink Floyd. Peter got me into Pink Floyd.


Thinking back I can’t remember whether I first had the album or saw the film. I think Peter, Bert and I went to see Alan Parker’s The Wall sometime in 1983 at The Empire, Leicester Square, I would have been 16-17 at the time. I’ve carried the vinyl of The Wall around with me everywhere I have been as an adult since but I don’t think I would have had the good sense to have bought my own copy way back then.

I remember coming out of the surround sound cinema, Bert being non-plussed and Pete and I blown away and exhausted. Seminal moment.

In the years since I have obtained most of the Floyd catalogue, seen them live at Wembley 6 August 1988 with The Momentary Lapse Tour but never seen Roger Waters.

Until now.

Having visited Amsterdam with a friend last year we were looking for a reason to go back, this…a chance to see The wall performed live was more than reason enough.

Amsterdam Arena itself is as good a venue a football ground can be…they closed the roof and that was a first for me. Once again in the cheap seats but nowhere near as vertiginous as the O2.

The gig itself…what can you say…it’s a 70 year old Bass player who happens to be Roger Waters. Fireworks, explosions, aircraft strafing the stage, giant puppets, kids choir singing on stage, the audience being machine gunned. All hung against a backdrop of a wall which builds up and eventually comes down before your eyes.Roger%20Waters%20The%20Wall%20Live%202011%20(103)

Spectacular is an over used word but this was verb and noun.


Like one of Gerald Scarfe’s puppet creations Waters looks out on all this and pulls the strings.


I don’t know how quickly you can perform the entire double album live but it was over all too soon.

Yes, it is an incredibly navel examining narcissistic album but I don’t care. I like Waters…I like the fact that the Bass player was also both songwriter and thorn in the side of the rest of the band. I hope I can still perform European tours when I am 70 and I hope I look as good as Waters does when I am his age.

And just in case “So ya, thought ya, might like to go to the show”…
Please do. Guitar solo-tastic, Comfortably Numb and ABITW Pt.III being worth the admission fee alone it’s a great night out and his UK dates are still upcoming although you can’t hang about. Over 3 million people have now seen this show live and to put that into context about 2 million have seen the Lion King in the West End.

2013-09-14 – Roger Waters – Wembley Stadium – London –
2013-09-16 – Roger Waters – Manchester Evening News Arena – Manchester
2013-09-18 – Roger Waters – Aviva Stadium (Dublin) – Dublin
2013-09-21 – Roger Waters – Stade de France – Paris

Or even better …do the Dublin or Paris dates.

N.B For the record I’m currently neither touring Europe or as well turned out as Mr Waters.

Jolene – Dolly Parton at 33 1/3 rpm

August 16, 2013

This sounds fantastic…if Johnny Cash had sung this he would have done it like this.


Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds Glastonbury 2013

July 1, 2013

Nick Cave at Glastonbury

Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds Glastonbury 2013

Fantastic set from Cave, TBS and the audience.

A great thing about Glastonbury’s frequently eclectic main stage line-up is how worried the fans of gentle headline acts sometimes look when faced with a surprise blast of true musical ferocity.

So it’s a joyous thing to see a fair few of the die-hard Mumford devotees who’ve pitched up at the front for a prime spot being literally walked all over by the shiny shoes of Nick Cave – one of rock’s more mesmerizingly brutal, yet still debonair demon choirmasters.

And to make matters even better it’s to the frankly obscene lyrics of the evil ‘Stagger Lee’.

Cave does find one of his own tribe though – easily spotted as she‘s got his name scrawled on her cheeks – and he briefly balances on the security rail by clamping her head between his knees, to obvious delight and disbelief.

There’s a pause as he gazes up to the stage. “Jesus, you’re a fucking long way away,” Cave shouts out from the pit to his Bad Seeds. “I’ve absolutely no idea how to get back – which song’s next anyway?”

After eventually scaling the stage again, the impresario later returns to the front and this time picks out a stunningly well-proportioned red-head who’s perched on anonymous shoulders. Transfixing her with his animal stare for half a song, he serenades the beauty, both of them seemingly oblivious for two minutes to the presence of the rest of the crowd.

However the stand-out musical moments have to be ‘Tupelo’ and encore, ‘Red Right Hand’.

Despite the warmth of the evening, given Cave’s almost godlike demonic persona, there’s a shiver passes through the audience as Tupelo’s opening lines crash skywards:

“Looka yonder! Looka yonder! A big black cloud come…”

Nobody would have been surprised at this very moment if such call to the heavens conjured up a storm cloud from nowhere. But perhaps it’s a spell with a built-in time delay designed to bring down the torrents on the heads of Mumford & Sons?

Whatever, the dark homage to the birth of Elvis Presley is a beautiful reminder of how Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds have a catalogue of powerhouse songs stretching back to the mid-80s. Murderous ballads that will guarantee they continue to stay relevant to new generations of fresh fans.

Quadrophenia and More …London O2, 15/6/13

June 16, 2013

So 2013 looks like it’s going to be a good year, in September I get to see Roger Waters perform The Wall and last night I witnessed “Quadrophenia and more”…both of which would make it into my top 10 all time albums.

 There is a concern for anyone going to see The Who nowadays with half the band already succeeding in dying before they got old…but these fears were soon assuaged with Daltrey and Townsend backed by Townshend’s younger brother Simon on guitar and vocals, Pino Palladino on bass and Scott Devours on drums, replacing regular drummer Zak Starkey who had a tendon injury. And despite the younger replacements this is not a boy band…this is a yob band…this is men behaving badly…this is maximum R & B.


I’d never been to the O2 before and it’s not a great venue, our seats were up in the gods and as I was watching the support band I began questioning the ticket price…have to say though 4 tracks into the main act and no one was thinking they had been short changed. By the time Simon Townsend had belted out The Dirty Jobs I was thinking I had had my money’s worth. At the end of the evening with them having been on stage for close to 3 hours that view was even more reinforced.

Townsend apparently reinvents this show each time he does it and watching the video backdrop I was confused as to what the death of Elvis, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the death of Diana and 9/11 had to do with Jimmy’s story…I obviously wasn’t the only one confused – witness Roger Daltrey getting the words to Love reign o’er me wrong, slipping in an extra verse and having to be put back on track by the maestro…but we will let that pass…more important was the homage to both Entwistle and Moon, especially when you consider Quadrophenia’s theme and it’s inclusion of all band members.


To see Quadrophenia played in full would be enough for me…to have the bonus of a six set encore of classics was icing on the cake, although you have to smile at 20,000 40+ blokes joining in to a refrain of “Teenage Wasteland”.

All in all a fantastic night which has me re-evaluating my top 5 gigs.

Set list:


I Am the Sea

The Real Me


Cut My Hair

The Punk and the Godfather

I’m One

The Dirty Jobs

Helpless Dancer

Is It in My Head?

I’ve Had Enough


Sea and Sand


Bell Boy

Doctor Jimmy

The Rock

Love, Reign O’er Me



Who Are You

You better You bet

Pinball Wizard

Baba O’Riley

Won’t Get Fooled Again

Tea & Theatre


March 6, 2013


Nick’s latest effort Push The Sky Away

February 21, 2013

Nick's latest effort Push The Sky Away

So just listening again to the New Nick Cave and The bad Seeds album Push The Sky Away…and I don’t quite know what to think I think about it.

Don’t get me wrong it’s not a bad album…it’s a good album…14 previous studio albums have taught me The Bad Seeds don’t make bad albums…it’s a beautiful record. I just can’t think where it goes yet.

Nick Cave is a strange one for me…the only artist I can think of from the top of my head who I got into via a live album (Live Seeds) {generally, not a live album fan unless I was there}. And I guess it was the sheer raucousness of his music coupled with some of the most intelligent lyrics I have come across anywhere that got me hooked.

Over the years I have pretty much collected everything he has released whether with the Bad Seeds or as Grinderman – i’ve refrained from The Birthday Party as I missed it first time around and I am too old to be reenacting that part of my life.

I admire all the Bad Seed albums from the finding their feet early albums through to the later stuff that even the wife says she likes via B-sides and rarities.

Maybe that’s where i’m struggling at present…42 mins for a Nick Cave album seems far too brief…Higgs Bosun Blues weighs in at almost 8 minutes but I want a few of them. The lyrics are still there but where is that track where he howls at the moon and just let’s it go. Where is that track that my wife will still blanch at on a Sunday Morning…one I need to get up and turn down or skip for her. I’ve only played it a couple of times but it reminds me a bit of Nocturama…but without Bring It On and Babe, i’m on fire…my two favourite tracks from that album.

Cave and I live in the same city, he gets out a bit more than I do, but our city has a seedy underbelly and this album is much more themed on that than the usual Cave biblical preacher style.

I know all artists change as they age and 15 albums of the same is not what I want…when I first heard Nick Cave I had a 1 year old daughter, I now have 3 children whilst Cave has twins approaching their teenage years. At the moment it is a bit too 11am Sunday Morning for me when it should be more 2am Saturday Morning.

What the album has done for me is make me revisit a lot of his other albums again – i’ll never tire of No More Shall We Part and B-Sides and Rarities makes my all time top 10.

The highlight of the album has to be the title track which is just mesmerising the remainder wouldn’t go amiss on their own on any recent Cave album. But put together and following on from two Grinderman albums and Dig Lazarus Dig is it just a little too ambient for me?