Live Gigs: Nick Cave’s 1999 Meltdown Festival

Who remembers when Nick Cave did the Meltdown fest? That’s a little doco above about it all, below has just turned into another big long Cave post by me. So kind-off flashback show today for Saturday’s post and for some reason, I don’t remember why really? But I started to hunted around for everything I could find on the internet about this and catalog it all here in one blog post right now. For such a great line-up I can find only very little on it but here’s everything I can, if you do know where more is please let me know and I’ll edited and update this post here, thank you!

Next up is The Ship Song rehearsal for his solo concert at the Royal Festival Hall which includes a very special cameo by a little mouse which Warren Ellis wearing AC/DC t-shirt lets it go out the back door.



The timetable of the full line-up plus it’s signed by Bryan Ferry too, which I’m borrowing from here. These now are everyone below and everything shown if you can’t read that because I can’t, it’s too small but lucky from me, I have a copy still but off course it’s not signed by Bryan Ferry.

Thursday the 17th June was the opening night with Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds supported by James “Blood” Ulmer. 


 Above is The Bad Seeds doing Tim Rose’s Lone Time Man as the opening song of their set but that seem to be the very last of live footage from Meltdown 99. The rest of the video clips below other than one more Cave are all kind-of random tracks. The Devils Got To Burn by James “Blood” Ulmer, I got to included him because this is the very first he’s been on my blog.

Sunday the 20th June was something called Sacred and Profane which Cave opened with Stagger Lee then you got The Clerks Group sung songs primarily of the Flemish Renaissance, the poet Jock Scott, the Pulp singer Jarvis Cocker, the U.K. actor Ewan Bremner, solo Mark E. Smith from The Fall, solo Mark Stewart from The Pop Group, author Patrick McCabe reading from Breakfast On Pluto and Salman Rushdie reading from Ground Beneath Her Feet.

Tuesday the 22nd June was Blixa Bargeld with something called Rede/Speech. He did do a second night too but it’s not listed in that program.

It’s solo Blixa show he was preforming around this time and right in the middle of the setlist was his cover of Johnny Guitar originally written by Peggy Lee Victor Young.

Thursday the 24th June with Sir Les Patterson‘s Australia featuring Kylie Minogue & Rolf Harris.


Saturday the 26th June was the music of Arvo Part with Gidon Kremer and then Dirty Three plus Andrei Samsonov.

Sunday the 27th June was Billie Whitelaw with an evening with Samuel Beckett plus in the Purcell Room Charlemagne Palestine perform.

Monday the 28th June was Lee Hazlewood playing with supports by Harry Dean Stanton and Conway Savage.


Lee at Meltdown, above photo by Simon Leigh and great written up all about it over here. Which is an edited extract from Lee, Myself & I: Inside the Very Special World of Lee Hazlewood by Wyndham Wallace

Wednesday the 30th June was Nick Cave solo show with Jimmy Scott supporting.


Thursday the 1st July was Nina Simone supported was listed as Suicide but was with amazing opening act as Germaine Greer, behind the scenes a rumor spreed like wild fire that Simone and Greer did not get on with each other. Anyway now quoting Greer:

“This is Nick Cave’s Meltdown and therefore I can do whatever I want. And so the very first poem I’m going to read to you is in Ancient Greek…”


Nick and Nina backstage above. Now as far as I know this show never seen the light of day on any kind-of release, official or bootleg but it’s got a huge myth around it thanks to Nick himself:



The list of guests on this amazing night was Nick Cave, Jarvis Cocker, Chrissie Hynde, Diamanda Galas, Van Dyke Parks, Howie B, Geoff Muldar, Margart O’Hara, Gary Lucas, Bryan Ferry, Eric Mingus, Elliott Shape, David Johannsen and Kate & Anna McGarrigle. Hopefully didn’t forget anyone? On youtube I can also find Cave doing John the Revelator original by Blind Willie Johnson:

This was later on released as a boxset called The Harry Smith Project: The Anthology of American Folk Music.

The film fest line-up is just one amazing movie after another lasting for seven days. The films are listed and the trailers can be watched below:

Prince Of The City (1981) Sidney Lumet 

Expelling The Demon (1999) Devlin Crow

Short animation film with music by Nick Cave, Warren Ellis & Susan Stenger.

The Boys (1998) Rowan Woods

Ghosts… of the Civil Dead (1988) John Hillcoat

Stars Nick Cave plus his very first movie soundtrack with Blixa Bageld & Mick Harvey.

Palms (1994) Artour Aristakisian

Sweet Smell of Success (1957) Alexander Mackendrick

Black Narcissus (1947) Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger

In the Realm of the Senses (1976) Nagisa Ôshima

Mother and Son  (1997) Aleksandr Sokurov

The Gospel According to St. Matthew (1964) Pier Paolo Pasolini

Le Sang Des Bêtes Blood Of The Beasts (1949) Georges Franju

La Belle et la Bête Beauty and the Beast (1946) Jean Cocteau

Harry Smith Fillum Day @ 3 PM

Lee Hazlewood Film Night @ 7:30 PM

 Nancy Sinatra & Lee Hazlewood in Nancy & Lee in Las Vegas (1975)

Lee Hazlewood in Cowboy In Sweden (1970)

Through were two art exhibitions shown thorough the venues by two Aussie artists, one photographer and one painter which both have worked with Cave but this was their more personal work.

The Babies by Polly Borland


The Paintings Of Tony Clark


So that’s it, what Nick Cave picked to played and shown at the London’s Southbank venues’ like Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall for his Meltdown in 1999. Any comments about that?



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