‘She’s Hit’ at the Hacienda Club in 1983.
Tx to saigonbill
I found a Birthday Party vid I hadn’t seen before, notable for the harrowing closeups of Cave’s exhausted, heroin-ravaged face. You can see him getting to the end of his tether, both physically and emotionally. The crowd is enraptured by Cave’s presence, seemingly unconcerned at his condition. The girl in white touches his face tenderly, another takes and gives back his cigarette. Such intimacy. It occurs to me that his death-like demeanor was entirely in keeping with fan expectations that Cave might, before their eyes, perish through self-immolation. He was their grand experience with Death Personified.
In Ian Johnstons’s Bad Seed, Rowland S. Howard has this to say about Cave, as the Birthday Party began to self-destruct:
“He was almost expected to be superhuman to an extent. It got to the point where we would get to the gig and Nick would be sitting backstage saying, ‘Oh my God, I just can’t do it. I can’t drag my shattered frame through another performance.’ You can’t go on stage and do that sort of performance, night after night, when you’re incredibly unhealthy, basically. When Nick cleaned up he said that before he had always felt eighty years old. I found it amazing how long he kept it up for. Nick has an incredible constitution, he’s got away with things that not many people could have survived” (123).
No wonder Nick Cave is Legend. Thankfully, still among us.