Nick Cave – live in Auckland, 7 December 2014

It has to be a sign of a great gig, where you can’t stop the songs from going around your head a day later, and after listening to nothing but Nick Cave for weeks, you don’t want to stop.

My build-up for this show started a couple of weeks ago. I hadn’t listened to some of Nick’s earlier albums in some time, and reacquainting myself made for some very enjoyable and noisy drives to work. Apart from seeing Grinderman in a storm (very fitting), I’d only seen Nick once before, in another “solo” show, that time in Mainz, Germany in 2006. I wasn’t familiar with all his songs in those days, and wasn’t going to make that mistake again. Despite that, the show in Mainz was fantastic, so my expectations for Sunday night in Auckland were in danger of spiraling towards unattainable levels.

My Nick weekend started on Saturday with a screening of 20,000 Days On Earth, followed by a Q&A session with Nick. Some of the questions drew interesting answers, others drew a laugh, and others groans of embarrassment from the audience. I had some questions ready, just in case Nick was met with an audience of shy kiwis, but there was no shortage of people wanting to engage with Nick. There’s a compete review of that on Graham Reid’s Elsewhere site here. I hope he doesn’t mind that link. I don’t think my readers will cause anything to crash.

And so to Sunday. Built in 1929, the Civic Theatre in Auckland is a beautiful venue, the perfect place for Nick to play. As well as being my favourite place to see movies as a kid, I’ve seen some great shows here – Bob Dylan, Elvis Costello, Emmylou Harris, the Waterboys. This description sums it up: Indian-inspired motifs, seated Buddhas, turrets, minarets, spires, Abyssinian panther statues, a domed blue ceiling  with twinkling stars and floating clouds. It leaves quite an impression and is probably the only venue in Auckland that may impress an overseas artist.

The two Auckland shows sold out almost instantly, so after my my initial disappointment at being in the back row, at least I was going to my first Nick Cave show in over eight years. When Nick comes to town, you don’t miss that opportunity. And he was as fantastic as I had hoped.

The advantage of the back row was that I was sitting very close to the sound guys, so I managed to secure the setlist.  There were a few changes, with four songs added (Watching Alice, Into My Arms, More News From Nowhere and Babe You Turn Me On) and one taken out (Love Letter). I’m not completely sure where these were added, but the following is my best recollection:

1. We Real Cool
2. The Weeping Song
3. Red Right Hand
4. Nobody’s Baby Now
5. Higgs Boson Blues (incredible solo by Warren – even Nick and the band applauded)
6. Mermaids
7. The Ship Song
8. From Her To Eternity
9. More News From Nowhere
10. God Is In The House
11. Into My Arms
12. Up Jumped The Devil
13. Water’s Edge
14. Black Hair
15. Lay Me Low
16. The Mercy Seat
17. Jubilee Street

18. We No Who U R
19. Breathless
20. Watching Alice
21. Babe You Turn Me On
22. Jack The Ripper
23. Push The Sky Away

So here are some dodgy photos taken from the back row. If you have the chance to see Nick on this tour, cancel all other plans and get there!

IMG_6319 IMG_6320 IMG_6321 IMG_6323 IMG_6324 IMG_6325 IMG_6326 IMG_6333 IMG_6341 IMG_6344 IMG_6352

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