Conversations with Nick Cave is a bold, intimate and open venture which successfully seeks to break down the artist/audience barrier. This was a no holds barred opportunity to speak to the rock icon about his life and work and from the start the audience was told to reserve judgement and to accept all questions as valid, this ethos led to the most insightful, funny and poignant experience. What would people choose to ask and would they get an answer?

Photo of Nick Cave. Credit - David Barajas

This event is an extension of the “Red Right Hand files” project which gives fans a chance to email in and ask anything and everything, each getting an answer from Nick himself, but what makes this project refreshing is the depth and breadth of his answers. In an age of Twitter where characters are limited, Nick’s replies are thoughtful, balanced responses to questions ranging from “What’s your favourite photograph?” to “How do you feel we should treat work from artists whose behaviour is outside social norms?” All questions are weighed and given due consideration, there are no identikit responses here, just open, personal honest exploration. 

Photo of Nick Cave. Credit - Daniel Boud

In person this made for a wonderfully refreshing format, with such a large audience the questions were sometimes funny, the woman who shared a very personal tattoo of Nick, stood out as a hilarious highlight and sometimes they were so unbelievably personal, blunt and raw that it was impossible not to be moved. It is easy to forget that our idols are people, humans, the celebrity status (or perceived celebrity persona) distancing them at once from our reach, Conversations with Nick Cave reminded all of us that dialogue and questioning can break down these barriers and lead to meaningful discussions about music, culture, art and grief to name but a few subjects covered, this is an event that will definitely stay with you.

Photo of Nick Cave. Credit - Daniel Boud

The Dome was the perfect venue choice for this event, combining a large audience whilst keeping a level of intimacy rarely experienced with other venues. The lighting changes during performances drew the audience in to a spellbinding performance of Cave’s most seminal pieces from “God is in the House” to “Stagger Lee” the sound and excellent acoustics of the venue making Cave’s vocals and playing even more powerful and somehow more personal. We were even treated to a performance of T-Rex’s “Cosmic Dancer” which Cave’s vocals gave new depth to, with the Bad Seed performing requests (Where possible) this all made for an organic, unpredictable show. With tables on the stage it felt like we’d stumbled into a small bar where we could chat to Cave as you would a friend (albeit a friend who can still silence a room into awe with a phenomenally beautiful performance of the "Ship Song”) This intimacy was typified for me when a small girl from the audience gravitated towards the stage and Cave continued to answer questions whilst she held on to his hand.

“We sing the stars, we sing the rain” was a lyric that this event perfectly embodied for me, from hilarity to loss this was, as one audience member put it, group therapy on a wide scale. To perform your work in such a fresh, personal and beautiful way in front of an audience when you’ve been performing for years is one thing, but to lay yourself bare to your fans in such an unpredictable, vulnerable, intimate way, now that deserves nothing but the utmost respect.

Caroline

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