An evening with Nick Cave on the roof

How many performances can be claimed to enter and exit the experience? Nick Cave organized everything, even the participation of the square, to respond to this feeling during his speech at the Onassis Foundation Roof yesterday Sunday.

He didn’t even need original finds or techniques since he already won half the “game” behind the scenes. As a performer born in the golden age of concerts, with a self-renewing repertoire that appeals to diverse audiences, lyrics that pierce emotions, and a stage presence that brings it close to the “opposite” so that it never feels “opposite.”

Partnered by Radiohead’s Colin Greenwood, the show began in half-light, the spotlight bending over the piano to illuminate the final performer. “Amber Girl”: what followed was a track that acted as the opening cue and precursor for the atmospheric mood to come: “Some go, some stay behind / and some don’t go anywhere…”.

At the start, his confession set the tone for the sound that would fill the room: we were hearing old Bad Seeds and Warren Ellis songs. “to restore themselves”, peeled and dipped “their essence”. Without orchestral investment, they became known. Already on the third track – 2008’s Dylan-like “Moon Jesus” – the chemistry with the audience was here to stay, as was the excellent partnership with the speechless Greenwood and his “invisible” silence on bass.

And then came other images from the fantastic gallery that the Australian aesthetic has maintained over the past 40 years. Flying sailing ships (“Galleon”) that search the sky for secrets and irretrievable treasures. Blood from children’s hearts wiped the butcher’s floor (“O children”). For his son Luke, who recently had his own son, Laila made Cave, as he called it, a grandfather (“Papa won’t leave you, Henry”).

A barefoot boy sits on a porch, pencil in hand, reading Flannery O’Connor, and is drawn to a reindeer and a forest spoiled by lights (“Massacre”). And, of course, Miles Davis, Ali McGraw and Steve McQueen in a dream, JFK and Marilyn Monroe’s indolence (from the epic “Palaces of Montezuma”).

As Cave chewed up a useful two hours, anyone could portray any image of their musical hero. Cave playing in a dark jazz bar in Orleans. Or “naked” songs in a room with a booming voice. Only for “partners” and friends in the foreign party. The hatch he often descends for his material has been known for years: the black gospel tradition, Nina Simone tracks, echoes of Leonard Cohen, Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan, Jethro Tull and the Stooges, cabaret and Kurt Weill.

Dam Cave, who added experience second only to Patti Smith’s best musical performances of the season, was a star who had a good time with the Athenian audience, but also a hint of trauma. Fragile and sensitive to the emotions that life has prepared for him – recovery from drug addiction, the death of his son Arthur, but also a lesson in patience interspersed with piety.

At the invitation of the composer, the applause of the square and the balcony, which joined the “Balcony man” with applause, brought him back to the stage for four songs after the “usual” 18 songs. And the evening ended with a farewell to “Cosmic Dancer” (T.Rex, 1971) and “Carnival is over” (Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, 1986). “Now the night is falling/ This will be our last goodbye/ Even though the holiday is over/ I’ll love you till I die.” The feelings are mutual, so to speak.

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