This past Monday evening I experienced one of my favorite and most influential artists live for the fourth time (third with The Bad Seeds, the other was with Grinderman) on the second to last stop of their 2017 North American tour at San Diego’s Civic Theater.  

Nick and the band were firing on all cylinders.  They seethed through the heavy and haunting new material from 2016’s Skeleton Tree, sucking the air out of the room in the process, and roared through an array of classics with reckless abandon breathing the life back into us.  The setlist was clearly meticulously planned out, being book-ended and cut in half by nearly every track on Skeleton Tree (sans “Rings of Saturn”).  The lead up to the end included a “Distant Sky” outro accented by Warren Ellis’ immaculate violin which bled into the title track, at which point there was no possible way I could hold back the tears given the subject matter and gravity of those songs.  The way the title track sighs with a hopeless peace at the end of such a heart breaking album did much of the same to a roller coaster of an evening.

The encore held suit, starting with two raucous staples of the Bad Seeds’ discography and one more low point to let us all fade into the night.  Nick ended up in the crowd numerous times, the first few rows ended up on stage for a few songs, and the place damn near came unhinged at multiple junctures.  It was absolutely perfect.


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

  • Blochead4real

    What a magnificent experience.

  • DFrye

    Awesome. Glad you got to experience this.

  • Cooolin

    Wow dude, great write-up. That sounds absolutely magnificent. Seems like I ought to add “Nick Cave live” to my bucket list.

  • inthedeadofknight

    Thanks guys! My friend that went with me was only very vaguely familiar with him, mostly because of me talking about him, but she was also blown away i.e. you don’t have to be obsessed like I am to enjoy the show they put on.

  • borgcube (Куб борга)
    • inthedeadofknight

      Awesome shots man! I was front row on the mezzanine. In theory I would enjoy being where you are, but in reality it was a clusterfuck and people would’ve annoyed me the whole time (because I’m a curmudgeon that hates being close to people) so I’m glad I had a view from up top.