I was surprised at the variation in musicianship from song to song. They charged, noisily through some of their newer material and stumbled, clumsily through their older repertoire. Sticking with mostly fan faves in spite of new material from this year's post-everything offering 'Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!', NC&TBS did an admirable job delivering such classics as 'Tuepelo', 'Papa Won't Leave You Henry', 'Mercy Seat' and 'Deanna'. However, I found it a little ironic, if not trite when Mr. Cave introduced 'Mercy Seat' with the quip "Here's one about a guy and an electric chair." Sounded like a set-up line from Uncle Ted.
At this point in his career, Mr.Cave has adopted the Lou Reed modus operandi of speaking the lyrics more so than singing them. That said, he did croon the softer stuff, namely, 'God is in the House', his paradoxical satire on Christianity. The same Christianity of which Mr.Cave is a true believer and has been the topic of dissertation on this very blog in the past.
From the cheap seats, there was a lack of intimacy that such a performer warrants. I was later mortified to learn (upon viewing countless youtube cell phone video's taken of the current tour) that Nick's on stage persona is not spontaneous and improvisational, yet rather contrived and repetitive. I guess at some point along the continuum all rock stars are the same.
All and all a good show. But honesty, he could have come out onstage and read Paul's letters to the Philippians with the accompaniment of an open C chord and the crowd would have thought it the coolest show ever.
I'm just sayin'.
For the uninitiated: NC&TBS, Wamu Theater, NYC 10.04.08
1. Hold On To Yourself
2. Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!
4. Weeping Song
5. Red Right Hand
6. Midnight Man
7. Love Letter (Nick on piano)
8. God is in the House (Nick on piano)
10. Mercy Seat
12. Hard On For Love
13. We Call Upon The Author
14. Papa Won’t Leave You Henry
15. The Lyre of Orpheus
16. Get Ready For Love
17. Stagger Lee
Extra Credit: In the following performance of 'There She Goes, My Beautiful World' (from Later w/ Jools Holland), the angelic, anthemic, name-dropping, muse inspiring opus that it is, NC espouses "Johnny Thunders was half alive when he wrote 'Chinese Rocks'". This lyric, while poetic, is not factually correct. Any good NY punker will tell you it was none other the Richard Hell and Dee Dee Ramone who penned that heroin classic. Nevertheless, a tremendous, hard-charger of a song.