Idiot Prayer: Nick Cave Alone at Alexandra Palace
On the other side of a premium concert experience, the blessings of a virtual gig for an artist are aplenty. Space to really be alone – in terms of both a vacant backdrop and the large topography of a concert hall – is relished by Nick Cave at London’s legendary Alexandra Palace. He sits at his grand piano in the centre of the empty 10,000-capacity floor, whilst a stray light shines from the corner of the venue and an artificial light highlights the music sheets in front of him as he passionately sings over 20 songs from his storied career.
The set spans across his large discography, from classic records made with his rock band The Bad Seeds, such as Stranger Than Kindness and Brompton Oratory, to his best numbers made with Cave’s other band Grinderman, including Palaces of Montezuma and the deeply personal Man in the Moon. Seamless transitions from track to track keep the 90-minute show flowing healthily, and it’s honestly impossible to note the most outstanding moments of the performance because Cave is so consistently great. However, this writer has a special reverence for the thunderous climax of Jubilee Street and the melancholy masterpiece (Are You) The One That I’ve Been Waiting For? Cave’s sombreness is deeply palpable in both his vocals and facial expressions. It must be remembered how Cave is bored of his biggest hit Red Right Hand, which he says “follows him around like a junkyard dog”, so naturally it’s not on the playlist here.
Idiot Prayer is certainly a unique, somewhat relaxed experience, with Cave offering little spectacle in the naked set, yet is heavy on emotion communicated entirely through his powerful vocals. While the London memories of the communal ecstasy at All Points East 2018 may be impossible to match in something so raw and small-scale, this performance is definitely unmissable for Cave’s fans.
Photos: Joel Ryan
Idiot Prayer: Nick Cave Alone in Alexandra Palace streamed on 23rd July 2020 – UK & Europe: 8pm BST for one time only. For further information and future events Nick Cave’s website here.
Watch a clip from the performance of Galleon Ship here: