Dream Setlist: Nick Cave

Dream Setlist: Nick Cave


Calling all Nick Cave obsessives, for this week’s Dream Setlist! Yisel shares with you her Bad Seeds love, guiding you through her quintessential concert experience. 


It was in the hot desert at Coachella 2013, where I first saw Nick Cave. I knew his name, I liked the songs, but I had never taken the time to sit down and listen to him carefully; therefor, my friend Lucy and I both deemed his performance a “must-see.” We both had heard amazing things about his live performance, so it was no surprise the show was more than astounding. More so, it was life-changing. Nick Cave doesn’t simply perform, he transforms the stage into another space, where you can feel each song as your own.

For this Dream Setlist, I am taking us to Brighton, London, a place where Nick Cave used to live. I’ll be setting the stage on the sand right in front of the wild ocean and the old Brighton Pier. A sunny, yet chilly day:


Open in Spotify



Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Red Right Hand (Official Video)

“A perfect piece to launch you into the “Nick Cave sound.” From the album Let Love In released in 1994, “Red Right Hand” Cave’s seductive voice is lost in a keyboard riff, stolen by the guitar as the song progresses. The song’s title comes from the epic poem Paradise Lost by John Milton, in which the biblical story of the fall of man is recounted. Furthermore, the song has become more popular by its use as the main intro theme for the British show, Peaky Blinders (a must-watch in my opinion).”



Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Jack The Ripper

“We all know Jack the Ripper, his killings, the stories and films made about him. Well, Cave’s “Jack the Ripper” is intense and full of murderous energy; however, the lyrics don’t ensue fear, but rather focus on a female character, professing “I got a woman/She rules my house with an iron fist/She screams out Jack the Ripper/Every time I try to give that girl a kiss.”



Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - "Jubilee Street" (Official Uncensored Music Video)

“Jubilee Street is located in the district of Whitechapel, London, an area associated with Jack the Ripper, poverty, prostitution and overpopulation. The lyrics follow the story of a girl named Bee, who appears to be a prostitute. This tune follows her story by means of a melodic violin and a haunting guitar riff. I can see Nick Cave ending the song on his knees in passion, awaiting the opening transient of the next tune.”



Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds - Still In Love

“This murderous ballad from the album Nocturama will have you reaching for the embrace of a loved one as the piano takes you into the lyric-painted scene: ‘The cops are hanging around the house…Everybody’s creeping around with plastic covers on their shoes.’ This song is a perfect quarter-life crisis for our setlist.”



Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - The Lyre Of Orpheus

“Speaking of love stories, you’ve probably heard of Orpheus and Eurydice. Orpheus is the Greek mythological figure of poetry, music and prophecies. He is also that famous character who goes to the underworld to save his wife. In this song, Nick Cave adds his own spin on the story, launching Orpheus into a killing spree – the lyre being his weapon of choice. I love the haunting nature of Cave’s tunes, which is a common theme throughout the songs chosen for the setlist.”



Grinderman - Palaces Of Montezuma

“Palaces of Montezuma is actually a song by Grinderman, Nick Cave and the Bad Seed’s psychedelic side project. The is a love song to Cave’s wife, Susie Bick. Compared to other tracks, this song possesses joyful sounds and lyrics. In my opinion a very lovely love song, and a perfect break from the creepy themes.”



Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - There She Goes my Beautiful World

“A chorus joins Cave in a song that rings in the gospel sound.  However, “There She Goes, My Beautiful World” is not a religious track, but a song about writer’s block—the inability, the struggle, the fight of putting the words on paper. The invocation of this musical muse will bring you out of your seats and onto your feet.”



Nick Cave & Kylie Minogue - Where The Wild Roses Grow

“From the album Murder Ballads, which consists of songs that speak of crimes of passion, comes “Where The Wild Roses Grow.” For this song, there is need of a featured guest —Australian singer Kylie Minogue. Oh yes, at this point we know the crowd is beyond pleasantly surprised.”



Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Loverman

“Another song from the 1994 album, Let Love In. “Loverman” is a perfect continuation for a murder ballad. It introduces a dysfunctional narrator and his chilling desires depicted in the lyric “There’s a devil lying by your side/You might think he’s asleep/But look at his eyes/He wants you, baby, to be his bride.”



Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - The Mercy Seat

“It would be more than an honor to have your original song covered by legend, Johnny Cash. For this tune, I want a mixture of the original and Cash’s version. Cash’s tune would guide us through the opening verse, only to be greeted and eventually intercepted by Cave’s original arrangement.”



Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - The Mercy Seat

“A grand piano appears on stage and we have Nick Cave singing and playing this sorrowful song. If people still used lighters it would be a good moment to bring them out. Otherwise, bring out your phone and hold it up.”



Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - O Children (Live at The Fonda Theatre)

“Prepare to sing in unison with a chorus of kids in “O Children, lift up your voice.”  A moment to think about how the decisions we make today affect the generations to come. Also, for all those Harry Potter fans, you probably recognize this song, as it soundtracked the dancing scene between Harry and Hermione in Harry Potter and The Deathly Hollows Part 1.”



Where Do We Go Now But Nowhere? (2011 Remastered Version)

“One of my favorite pieces “Where Do We Go Now But Nowhere,” is part of the 1997 album The Boatman’s Call. Another tragic narrative of lost love expresses “If I could relive one day of my life/ If I could relive just a single one/You on the balcony, my future wife/O who could have known, but no one.” At this point, the crowd has melted into Cave’s sonic atmosphere, craving the raw emotion that is evoked by this track.”



Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds- Push the Sky Away

“With the set nearing it’s end “Push The Sky Away” is the perfect track to unify the audience, before the inevitable goodbye. I can picture Nick Cave walking the stage, offering his hand to his fans.”





Nick Cave & P.J Harvey -Henry Lee

“Since this is my Dream Setlist and I have the fantastical freedom, I want PJ Harvey to join Nick Cave for this tune. PJ Harvey is one of my favorite musicians and this is one of my favorite Nick Cave tunes.  I want to see them both on stage, singing into each other’s eyes.”


16. LUCY

Lucy - Nick Cave & Bad Seeds

“To end the concert, Nick Cave is back at his piano, singing a song titled Lucy – the name of my friend, and fellow concert-goer. It is unsaid, but understood between the both of us, that this song is for her. In Nick Caves words “when I write a song and release it to the public, I feel it stops being my song” (The Red Hand Files). So for this concert, this song belongs to her.”