It is rare that you will be able to see a legend perform. It is even rarer that you will see them perform at, what could arguably be called, the height of their ‘power’. I have to admit, I became a fan of Nick Cave quite late in the game. I had known of him for years but had been put off by his enormous back catalogue, sure that I would pick the wrong album and ruin the experience for myself. Fortunately a friend was good enough to lend me the Abattoir Blues/Lyre of Orpheus double album and from the moment Get Ready For Love kicked in I was hooked.

This is what brings me to The Troxy tonight, the knowledge that what goes on on the stage in front of me I will remember for a lifetime, and I am not disappointed. The plethora of songs, which once frightened me so, are tonight used to dazzle and thrill me as Nick Cave and his backing band, The Bad Seeds, work their way through over two decades of material.

I’ve heard it said that Cave’s music is depressing, concerning itself as it does with the notion of death, the album Murder Ballads is about nothing but, and lost love. However, here tonight that can all be forgotten as everyone in the crowd is swept up in the grandiose spectacle that is unfolding before us. The addition of a full band to some of his earlier piano lead ballads gives the songs a greater weight, changed from maudlin songs about love and death into celebrations of both.

Cave has assembled such blessed musicians, most notably Dirty 3’s Violinist Warren Ellis, who make the entire thing look effortless as they plough their way through a brace of songs. Including a hip-shaking rendition of the title track from new album Dig Lazarus Dig!!! Which is a lot funkier than previous Cave songs, and inspires the first sing along chorus of the night. We Call Upon The Author, also from the new album, is a particular highlight, especially during the breakdown which occurs twice during the song and then sees the band come crashing back in in spectacular fashion.

One of the many things that impressed me about the gig was the audience. Firstly it was so varied; I am used to attending gigs where everyone is around the same age and follow the same fashion trends. Tonight though the age of the audience ranges from the late teens up to men who look to be in their sixties,, all of which were enjoying the show. Showing that great music transcends age or fashion. Everyone is also completely focused on the music, no chatting to each other during songs which is something I have sadly gotten used to over the last year of attending London gigs.

Nick Cave himself is full of life, cracking jokes in between songs, when members of the audience keep shouting for certain songs he eventually says “we’ll play a couple more then we’ll take requests, and as long as they appear on the sheet in the same order we’ll play them”. During songs he either wields his guitar, which he’s only recently learnt to play, or he prowls the front of the stage like some sort of lithe panther.

It’s a testament to the power of the music and the performance that when they finally leave the stage I look at my watch and realise that an hour and a half has passed in the blink of an eye. It’s rare for a band to captivate me for 45 minutes, let alone double that time. Not only that but I still want to hear more, and they don’t disappoint. Coming back on for a muscular and macho performance of Stagger Lee, an amusing tale about “the bad motherfucker named Stagger Lee” who would “crawl over fifty good pussies just to get to one fat boys asshole” they end their set on a high note and leave the rest of us to once more stumble back into the cold, dark London night.