Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds @ SSE Hydro, Glasgow, 27 Sep

Nick Cave is a performer operating at the peak of his powers, delivering odes on murder, love, loss and desperation

Live Review by Lewis Wade | 29 Sep 2017

Despite turning 60 last week, Nick Cave is still producing some of the best, if not the best, work of his career. His legendary status has long been established, but attending one of his shows isn't a staid act of musical pilgrimage (like seeing many of the veteran acts currently touring is) – this is a performer operating at the peak of his powers.

And while the music does range from 1984's From Her to Eternity to the present day, more than half the set is drawn from material released in the last four years. An opening trio of Anthrocene, Jesus Alone and Magneto eases both the band and the audience into the show, before Higgs Boson Blues and From Her to Eternity (complete with karate kicks) ignite the raw power that the band seem to be able to conjure up in the blink of an eye.

The main man can mostly be found prowling around the stage or charging through the audience, microphone aloft like some sort of gothic jouster, but he also finds time to wring the delicate emotion out of melancholic ballads like The Ship Song and Into My Arms. The most heart-wrenching moments, however, are reserved for his recent meditations on death, specifically I Need You, Distant Sky (featuring a huge video of Else Torp) and Skeleton Tree (the latter two closing the main set). All of which seem far too personal to be shared with thousands of strangers, but Cave seems to derive a cathartic strength from performance.

The encore sees him in and out of the crowd for an absolutely raucous Weeping Song, inviting dozens of people on stage for a gut-busting Stagger Lee, before finishing with a poignant Push the Sky Away from the middle of the audience. Cave is always encouraging the crowd to gather closer to him as he delivers odes on murder, love, loss and desperation. His energy grows as he feeds off the audience's adoration, and tonight he and the thousands of assembled fans are operating in perfect symbiosis.