Live Review: Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds

There’s a part near the beginning of the recent Nick Cave documentary, which charts the making of Skeleton Tree, his latest album with the Bad Seeds, in which he says: “Isn’t it the invisible things, the lost things, that have so much mass? And are as big as the universe?” Cave has recently suffered a terrible loss – his son died in a tragic accident during the recording of the album. He later said of the film, “it gave Arthur’s absence, his silence, a voice”. The accident itself is rarely mentioned directly in the film, but it has so much mass. I’m on my way to see Nick Cave play at the Manchester Arena, listening to the album as I walk, and so much of the recording is heartbreaking. I know that when I leave the gig, I will have to write about what I see there, and I think to myself – is it appropriate to mention this loss? Is that tabloid and crass, or is there a respectful way to do this? But then, the opposite question comes to me – is it possible to experience this concert without thinking about this loss when it does have so much mass? An elephant in the room as big as the universe? I recently read an article about emotion in opera performance, in which the writer says: