Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds kicked off their two day concert series at the Menora Mivtachim arena in Tel Aviv to a sold out and electrified audience.After standing up to pressure from the BDS movement stating that he is here "because of BDS," he and his six-piece band took the audience on a musical journey with songs both old and new.Starting the show with the somber, slow and haunting sounds from their latest album, Skeleton Tree, which was released in late 2016, the album sorrowfully eulogizes the death of Nick Cave’s 15 year old son, who died after falling off a cliff one year prior.Cave, perched on a stool close to the edge of the stage, started the evening with three select tracks from Skeleton Tree: “Anthrocene,” “Jesus Alone” and “Magneto.” His dark and haunting voice worked eerily in tandem with the well dressed Bad Seeds who provided slow, wistful yet controlled instrumental accompaniments to these touching songs. Cave and the band had a way of delivering not only these slow and controlled melodies but also booming and almost chaotic performances of their more seasoned tracks throughout their two and a half hour set.“Higgs Boson Blues,” from their 2013 album "Push away the sky" was a 10 minute trancelike performance where Cave floated from corner to corner of the stage inviting the audience to come closer to share in the experience; which they willingly did.What could almost be described as a cathartic performance, Cave and his band went from whispers to sporadic shouts and almost hysterical musical accompaniment and back again, creating some sort of a collective musical exorcism which opened up the audience to bask in the euphoria of the performance. Throughout the show, the atmosphere was joyous, as the crowd, mostly aged 30 and up, could be seen grinning blissfully, often with eyes closed, singing along and reaching their arms out to touch the Australian musical icon who seemed to be all over the area.
What Cave lacked in friendly banter with the crowd in between songs, he made up for with constant physical interaction with the audience. Only offering up a simple "Shalom Tel Aviv" and replying to an almost constant stream of "WE LOVE YOU!"s from the crowd in between songs: “I love you, I love you, I’m f***ing crazy about you” he replied before diving directly back into the band's repertoire. Throughout the show, he would raise his hands and draw the crowd towards him, reaching out into a sea of hands, he would get down off the stage and sing directly into the audience members faces and often hold the hands reaching out to touch him.During his booming performance of “Tupelo,” Cave climbed from the stage into the arena seats and performed part of the song while hanging off of seats and relying on the the audience to make sure he wouldn’t fall or drop his microphone.The encore had Cave almost bouncing all over the arena, climbing through the orchestra section through a sea of ecstatic fans throwing their arms around him and yelling ‘I love you!’ and ‘thank you!’ and religiously singing along.The last song of the night, ‘Push the sky away,” from the same album, Cave invited the audience on to the stage, where he sang to a group of some 30 or 40 grown adults sitting on the stage intensely watching Cave with a childlike wonder and fascination. At times, he would pick one or two members, look deep into their eyes and sing directly to them.The whole experience felt almost religious. I can’t remember the last time I have seen such a captivated audience like this crowd.Nick Cave and his bad seeds proves that if you give love, you get love, and that was the secret behind their seemingly magical performance.
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - "Jesus Alone" (Official Video) (YouTube / Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds)