An Evening of Talk & Music with Nick Cave

Nick Cave Talk & Music

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An Evening of Talk & Music with Nick Cave @ St-Jean-Baptiste Church

Most people go to church 3 times in their lives, and 2 out of those 3 times, they are not even conscious of being there:  baptism, marriage and their own funeral.

Now there is a fourth reason to go:  Nick Cave

Church isn’t so much a sacred place for Nick as is the bookstore and record shop.  That is where he finds solace.  Don’t ask for a selfie in either of these sacred places, but at the airport…that’s fine.

That was just one of the conversations we had with Nick Cave.

Just the word Cave evokes darkness and bleakness.  Hey…even Batman had a mansion above his cave!  

Nick was not here to bring darkness but bring light.  Honest, truthful and raw conversations is what he promised.

We were invited beforehand to come prepared with the difficult questions.  We were promised an answer without holding back.  In effect, a true connection with the audience.

In the age of fake news and fake Insta lives, it’s refreshing to witness honesty and vulnerability.  

As the venue filled, the stage was populated by guests at tables.  It felt as those of us in the audience were underage voyeurs peeking into the windows of a lounge that refused our fake ID.

When Nick Came out, his goal was to break the glass that separates an artist and their fans.  He never once looked at the people behind him on stage, he wanted connection with those in the uncomfortable pews.

The topics included Snoop Dogg’s cover of “Peaky Blinders”, which Nick enjoyed.  His opinion on rap music is that some of it is incredibly brilliant, while some is so bad, he simply can’t listen to it.  As an artform, he says it has incredible potential, if used right.

Nick would answer a few questions from the audience, then play a song or two on the piano.

Of course, we would not have Nick Cave the performer if it wasn’t for an album that Nick discovered while growing up.  When he first heard “Songs of Love and Hate” by Leonard Cohen, it was as if a whole world opened up for him.  The darkness he felt from within had a voice and could be made beautiful.

Following the footsteps of Leonard, who lives a mere 5 blocks from the venue (550 meters) at 28 Rue de Vallières, Nick began his journey of putting into words what many felt but could not express.

After nick apologetically said: “Forgive me for even attempting this.”  He played “Avalanche” by Leonard Cohen. 

It’s no wonder the subject of mourning dead loved ones, such as Nick’s son, was discussed.  Does Nick believe in God?  Does he know where his son is? 

“Sorry…I don’t have any insider knowledge about that.”, he said jokingly.  Nick may not know if there is a God or if there is life after death, but he did acknowledge that he likes to believe in some higher power or purpose, if only for his own survival.  Reaching his hand to the sky, he uncovered that he needs to believe in a yearning for something beyond himself.

He spoke of mourning like being shattered into a million little pieces.  You then reach out for those shards and try to put yourself back together again.  You eventually do, but you will not be the same person you were before.  This new version of yourself can have more empathy and forgiveness.  

Then the shivers and goosebumps descended on me as he played “Into My Arms”.

Nick laid to rest an urban legend that he had avoided playing Vancouver for many years because someone threw a shoe at him.  “In Glasgow, people urinated on us from the balcony, and we went back there!”, Nick mentioned, suggesting we not try it tonight.  Vancouver can lay that one to rest, and hopefully keep their shoes on…just in case.

I found it interesting that he spoke of his friendship with Michael Hutchence of INXS.  The two became friends and they both envied something about each other.  Nick envied the fame of Michael, while Michael envied the credibility of Nick.  Grass is always greener…

On the topic of inspiration, Nick mentioned Daniel Johnston who passed recently (Sept. 11, 2019).  He sang a short version of “Devil Town” A Capella.  

Nick Cave An Evening of Talk & Music

So many apologized for their French accent that Nick apologized for his Australian accent.  Nick was always ready to defend the bravery of those that stood up with a microphone to ask a question, no matter how trivial it might seem.  He made a point to explain that it was harder for those asking the question, than for Nick to answer.

Before playing a few last songs, Nick touched on the type of songwriter he is.  He said that as a songwriter, he has a duty to go places that are dangerous and transgressive and bring something back in order to create songs.  

Nick is a writer of yearning.  The yearning that there is something out there, bigger than all of us, that he is constantly trying to reach out to.  “I dedicate my life to things that exist beyond truth, beyond meaning.  That’s what songwriters bring back: something beyond truth.”

Nick may not have all the answers, but his latest quest is to answer as many as he can for his phenomenon that is

If you missed out on this incredible experience, fear not dear readers, sign up to The Red Hand Files and get your questions answered, as ours were.

Nick Cave Set List An Evening of Talk & Music Montreal

Review: Randal Wark is a Professional Speaker and MasterMind Facilitator with a passion for live music.  You can follow him on InstagramTwitter and YouTube. His new Podcast RockStar Today helps musicians quit their days jobs is coming soon.

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