As Scandinavian evening sunshine blanketed itself over the Orange stage, Friday headliners Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds made sure the people of Denmark were blessed by the hand of God.
Opening to ‘Jesus Alone’ and ‘Magneto’, Nick Cave’s eyes clouded with a wild fury, drawing the audience into his haunting world.
“This is very strange,” said St Nick at the start of his set, as he came down the stage steps to embrace the crowd. “I’m trying to get to you.” In a routine that’s come to be an iconic part of his live shows, he entered the audience like a cult faith leader promising to absolve his disciples of their sins, grasping their hands with a grave intensity.
However, the moment was momentarily put on hold as one audience member reached for his crotch. “Hey, that’s sexual harassment in the workplace,” he murmured into the mic, as the Bad Seeds continued the gothic soundtrack behind him.
“She lives in apartment 29,” he snarled into the piano mic, where he settled down for ‘From Her to Eternity’. Each piano chord was slammed into the keys as Cave launched himself up and down from his hunched position at the instrument, wailing the creepy chorus throughout.
“One at a time,” he told the pit of followers, who were hurling words of adoration towards the stage. “I love you too. George give me a chord,” he said, as ‘Loverman’ started its lengthy intro.
After the menacing notes of ‘Red Right Hand’, Cave took a seat at his grand piano again for ‘Into My Arms’. Partners hugged each other closer, and the pit started to resemble a penguin colony keeping out Antarctic winds. Now in their most emotionally vulnerable state of the night, Cave struck his audience with a particularly pained performance of ‘Girl in Amber’. Any composure that had so far been maintained was rocked to oblivion, and the hallowed majesty of the Church of Nick Cave closed Roskilde’s visitors from the outside world. They were screaming and speaking in tongues by the time ‘Jubilee St’ rolled through two tracks later.
‘Weeping Song’ showed Cave’s stage show to be an unsettling balance of uncontrolled passion and carefully crafted musical madness. “Bad Seeds! Shh!” he barked at the chorus, the band dutifully hushing their gloomy soundtrack. “Can you just play the bass exactly like the song?” He turned to the crowd. “Are you ready?” he whispered, pulling his hands up as if to pray, then leading the audience in a mass clap-along.
As at his London O2 gig last year, Cave closed the set with ‘Push The Sky Away’, world-renowned as the most depressing but optimistic song ever. A line of midnight sun illuminated the artist as he embraced his fans one last time, gently disappearing as he turned to leave. There was no need for an encore when there’s nothing left to give.
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds played:
Do You Love Me?
From Her to Eternity
Red Right Hand
Into My Arms
Girl in Amber
The Weeping Song
Push The Sky Away