Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds: The Abattoir Blues Tour

Cave and Bad Seeds Live
In Wim Wenders film Wings Of Desire, angels listen into the private thoughts of Berliners.

Nick Cave is captured backstage repeating to himself: “I don’t wanna tell you about a girl”, before going on stage to the sounds of ‘From Her To Eternity’, first line - “I wanna tell you about a girl”.

Although the new live DVD of the Bad Seeds can’t promise that level of access to the thoughts of Nick Cave, the excellent close up photography of The Abattoir Blues Tour DVD, captures the ever changing moods of this compelling performer. The film shows not only the high kicking showman you see from the stalls but also a man driven with intense nervous energy.

Despite the myriad of cameras needed to film the twelve musicians playing and singing at full throttle, there are no shots of cameramen backing off stage which helps maintain the illusion of the performance as a live event rather than as a DVD. There are no stage effects either, beyond filming Cave’s giant ‘Nosferatu’ shadow cast on the wall of the theatre, as the film focuses on performance rather than artifice.

Does the world need another live DVD from the Bad Seeds? God Is In The House was released only three years ago. Furthermore, the set is based around the double album released that year, ‘Abattoir Blues/ The Lyre Of Orpheus’, not one of the band’s strongest works while revisiting more obscure tracks. The band is also augmented by four backing singers, which brings from Cave a stronger vocal performance. Cave, the inveterate tinker man has also evolved other tracks such as ‘The Ship Song’ into almost cover versions of the original tracks. It is the final song where the DVD really takes off, a compelling version of the murderous ‘Stagger Lee’, where the viewer can almost forget he is watching in his living room.

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