Live review: Nick Cave, Gold Coast Convention Centre, 4 December

The mystic Goth rock overlord casts his spell upon the Gold Coast for the first time in his 30-year career.
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It would eventuate on the road to Nick we should be wandering in the middle of country Victoria right about dinner time, searching for the nearest anything open on a Monday night, we found a Dominos Pizza in the sleepy town of Wangaratta, Cave’s childhood town, of course where else would we end up on this fateful night? We quickly make a stop and pick up our gourmet roadside meal and head to the riverbank to eat whilst recalling the stories we had heard of Cave’s years growing up in this ‘miserable’ town. On our way out we suddenly felt as though we were living the tale as on the town’s outer edge rested three police cars and officers waving us down to stop for an RBT. We chuckle as this is all too serendipitous, but of course the man himself would not have allowed this story to unfold any other way.

Walking into the Gold Coast Convention Centre you might be mistaken for thinking some sort of dark arts gala was about to take place given the sea of shiny black hair, velvet and lace gowns, white shirts and sharp black ties teamed with a buzzing of anticipation throuhgout. It’s not so often Australian rock royalty visits the glitter strip and brings out the true arts-loving radicals of this oft mistaken city.

As the shadows of Warren Ellis, Martyn Casey, Thomas Wydler, Barry Adamson and finally Nick appear the crowd roars, screams and applauds in sheer excitement. From the first note Cave’s spell took shape, magically swaying his long arms to and fro, he sang, mesmerizing the seated crowd appearing as though he were waving an unseen wand casting some sort of sonic spell he was a adroit at. As he finishes he rambunctiously throws away his score sheets atop his black grand piano.

By the beginning of Nobody’s Baby Now girls began dancing down the aisles. To everyone’s surprise no one was shunned back to their seats as the crowd grew bigger and bigger. At one point you may have thought you were at a Birthday Party gig as men began fighting over their standing room, while the women just stood arms raised and eyes locked in awe.

During Higgs Boson Blues Warren and Nick share several moments of innocent companionship as they giggle between each other telling silent and unknown jokes evoking a sense of oneness between the two.


I chose to take my seat in perfect time as my current favourite Mermaids began on stage, in which Ellis takes over with a mighty and otherworldly guitar solo only to return to his body and coolly join in the rest of the song adding backing vocals as though nothing had happened. It reminded me of the creative process used by Bjork and David Attenborough during her production of Biophilia which was aimed at recreating organic sound reflective of something as mystical and continuous as a river flowing or as intricate as a crystal cave forming. It didn’t once take away from Cave’s solo acts as he sat with what felt like his heart on the lid of the piano, his performance so spookily entrancing you almost felt as though you were alone witnessing the creation of such pieces raw with emotion and filled with the first recollections that made such melodies such as Love Letter which just silenced a room filled with thousands of wildly enamoured fans.

For a city as rowdy as the Gold Coast you sensed you were in the presence of something else as people hushed quickly as Nic Cave whispered into the microphone and convulsed as though possessed. Before you know it he stands up from is piano raises his arms in triumph and calls “Goodnight” as he walks off stage to an enormous eruption of applauds, screams, whistles and “I love yous”

After minutes of cheering, stomping, scrying and applause their shadows appear to begin the encore with We No Who U R during which a young paraplegic girl who had been seated for the most of the show was suddenly raised as if by miracle to stand up and reach out for Cave’s hand, he pushes away all others reaching for hers and bends down singing as he looks deep into her soul. It was incredibly moving and a bittersweet reminder of the awesomeness of the man himself.

Throughout the night Cave was able to revisit classics off his very first few albums as far back as From Her to Eternity, bringing back all the emotions we all felt during the first time we heard Into My Arms while blending in amongst it all tracks of his most recent work Push The Sky Away.

Cave closed the night off with a haunting rendition of Push The Sky Away, the perfect end to a spell-binding night, it was clear no one wanted it to be over, but as they say all good things must come to an end and so after much more applause and praise the room slowly began to spill out to the foyer, where there were hugs and tears shared amongst those walking out.

Photos courtesy Leisen Standen, Lamp Photography

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