On a night where Nick Cave spent nearly three hours answering questions from fans and serenaded his audience as well, there were two things that he wouldn’t discuss at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center on Thursday night.
A two-part question turned into a little comedic quip from Cave. A fan asked about the most hurtful thing that his wife had ever said to him, and where he gets his “immaculate” shirts from.
“A gentleman never talks about his tailor nor does he reveal secrets within a marriage,” he answered as the Nashville crowd laughed at his response.
Throughout Thursday there were plenty of smiles, tears and the sound laughter rang through the James K. Polk Theater. No question was off limits for fans, as Cave opened himself up fully for the crowd.
“It’s really a bizarre some kind of portal into the minds of my audience,” he said at the start of his show. “It’s very, very strange in there, in your minds… It’s become this extraordinary way of individualizing my audience. But, at the same time, I’m seeing that there’s this need for people and I feel this need reflected in myself. It feels like for me, that this has become a serious project.”
On the day before his newest record, “Ghosteen,” was scheduled to be released, the singer noted that he didn’t do any legwork in promoting the album. That meant no interviews for press, but still he had been teasing the newest release via his weekly newsletter Red Hand Files.
There was little questions about his latest upcoming music though. Plenty of fans asked about the state of his mind during certain songs and albums, and even one fan boldly asked about some of his past relationships, most notably with PJ Harvey. The crowd member asked, “How did she influence you?” which drew another quip from Cave.
“She influenced me?” Cave joked. “That was clearly unfair. It’s a lovely question… I was looking for a particular kind of voice and a strong female presence… She seemed like exactly the right person to do that.”
It was those real moments though where he really connected with the audience on Thursday. Rather than drone on about his work, Cave was at his funniest and most free when asked general questions.
The man did not shy away from questions about how vegetarian affected his writing style. Which, he admits it didn’t, but he also threw in a sly joke noting that “I would be a vegan, but the shoes are so bad.”
Cave was also asked about his thoughts on the rising P.C. Culture. He delivered a strong, but poignant answer in response.
“I think it is affecting us all. It’s affecting us all, that even those who want to plant a flag for free speech, it’s acting both as something that is very damaging to the creative process. At its best, it acts as a corrective too. I have to say that it’s got rid of a lot of bull-.”
“P.C. culture has turned into a bit of a rapacious animal which is not good for the creative process,” he added. “We need to forget the stupid things we did when we were young, or simply forget, which is one thing P.C. culture does not do.”
Later in the night, somebody asked if Cave if he would ever consider remixing some his earlier tracks. The answer was an emphatic no. He stated that it was his pieces were a look at the mindset where he was at that point in his life. He brought one of his favorite artists into the answer.
“If Neil Young ever remixed ‘On The Beach’ I would f- seek him out and strangle him, because it’s my song!” Cave responded in a joking, but probably serious manner.
While Cave shared his personal stories and answered questions, the audience on Thursday returned the favor at times. Some members even delivered some gifts. One member of the audience handed him a handwritten book and another weirdly shared a journal full of darkest thoughts. That night proved that Cave has dark and devoted fans and the conversations tour that he is embarking on is something that is worthwhile to them.