It was a joy to look back over certain history - rather than forward, in trepidation, with gnawing heart, towards an unknowable future. Every other time I’ve sung on stage, the experience has been weighed down, at least to some extent, by questions that just didn’t need an answer last Sunday.
How will the audience respond to our music? Will it please them? Does it please us? Is it time to make music that pleases them but which might not necessarily please us? How many people are here because of the support band? Will my pants split? Where do I rank on the ladder of cool? Are my balls visible? Am I too stoned to sing? Am I too drunk not to sing? Can I really sing at all? Can what I am doing technically be termed ‘singing’? Who can I fuck? Can Nick Cave ‘sing’? Is the crowd dense enough to dive on? Who can I fuck without alerting my girlfriend? Am I being true to myself? Who can I borrow money off? Is my father turning in his grave? Is what I’m doing ‘art’?
What will the record company think? Can I hear myself? Is the bassist having parallax error on his fretless? Why can’t I remember the lyrics? Will anyone notice? Have I actually written any lyrics? Is the solipsistic keyboardist riding a wave of his own grandeur? And my hair? Oh god! My clothes? My shoes? How fat am I exactly? Am I going to trip over a cymbal stand? Is the mike lead going to fall out? What will I say when the song’s over? What will happen if I pour beer into the foldback monitor? Is it obvious that the bassist is incompetent? Is there a polite way to tell him not to do that thing with his neck? Will we ever succeed? Are we succeeding now?
Is the drummer an amphibian? Is the guitarist going to stop playing and eat the Chinese meal steaming on top of his amp? Who can I score off in the audience? Is the keyboardist really eating an hallucinogenic omelette? Where is my beer? Why is that guy smiling at me like a self-satisfied sphinx? Does my howling sincerity come across as lame? To what extent am I completely deluded …?
I don’t know that I was ever quite so neurotic, but you get the picture. On Sunday, all that shit, it just didn’t matter – not to us, not to the audience - we were permitted to just enjoy the day, the music, the people and it was an absolute fucking pleasure that I’ll carry with me to the grave.
(photos by Brendan Young)