Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – Distant Sky: Live in Copenhagen (Bad Seeds Ltd)

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When the news hit that the tour in support of the Skeleton Tree album would be getting a live EP release, I was overjoyed. Y’see, I was lucky enough to be gifted an 11th hour guest list pass for the opening night of the tour, and so the prospect of reliving the intensity and intimacy of that beautiful night 12 months ago filled this amateur scribe with glee. But could the intensity and intimacy be captured via four tracks on wax?

Live recordings are always dubious affairs, where the authenticity will always be questioned. How live is it? Will there be overdub overkill? I can confirm that the Bad Seeds as a live unit blew my tiny mind. Even the purposeful looseness remained tight, so it matters not here.

Side A boasts Jubilee Street and Distant Sky. I think I had something in my eye on that date with Nick in Bournemouth last year, and whatever it was, it seems to have returned. Okay, it was a tear. Yes, I am not ashamed to admit that Distant Sky brought up many an emotion. Never underestimate the power of music. That intensity I spoke of at the top of page? Well, it’s all there, folks. On the flip-side we’re treated to From Her to Eternity (a song I never thought I’d hear live) and The Mercy Seat (a song that still confirms that I can die a happy man after hearing it in the flesh).

Performances of that triumphant tour have been captured perfectly on this neat four track offering. It begs the question though – couldn’t we have had a full live album? That said, this’ll do me just fine. Nick Cave is not a man I consider to be vulnerable, but given life events in his recent years, this is as vulnerable as he gets. The soul is laid bare and those arena shows felt like bar shows. The intimacy was ramped up with an invited stage invasion and the front cover depicts the closeness Cave had with the audience on those nights. Sure, it’s not an essential purchase for everyone, but if you were there or you wish you were there, this is a mighty fine document. Now, roll on the new, recently announced Bad Seeds studio album. Ginge Knievil

 EP details can be found here

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