The clip, released Monday, offers a glimpse at Cave’s isolated set at the iconic London venue. It also features him reading a poem in voiceover as we see him striding into the theater’s main atrium and sitting at a piano.
“Idiot Prayer evolved from my Conversations With… events, performed over the last year or so,” Cave said in a statement. “I loved playing deconstructed versions of my songs at these shows, distilling them to their essential forms – with an emphasis on the delivery of the words. I felt I was rediscovering the songs all over again, and started to think about going into a studio and recording these reimagined versions at some stage – whenever I could find the time. Then, of course, the world went into lockdown. The Bad Seeds’ global 2020 tour was postponed. Studios shut down. Venues shut down. And the world fell into an eerie, self-reflective silence.”
He continued, “It was within this silence that I began to think about the idea of not only recording the songs, but also filming them – and so we started to assemble a small team, including the great cinematographer, Robbie Ryan, sound man, Dom Monks, and editor, Nick Emerson, with the intention to film as soon as it became feasible to get back to business in some way. Meanwhile, I sat at home working out how to play more songs in the Conversations format – new songs and songs from the Ghosteen album, Grinderman songs and early Bad Seeds stuff, and everything in between.”
Cave and his team secured a filming date at Alexandria Palace as soon as the venue was able to reopen for the crew, and everyone adhered to social distancing guidelines throughout production. “We had an amazing production team and crew, and what they did within this extraordinary situation was a marvel. Surrounded by COVID officers with tape measures and thermometers, masked-up gaffers and camera operators, nervous looking technicians and buckets of hand gel, together we created something very strange and very beautiful that spoke into this uncertain moment, but was in no way bowed by it.”
Idiot Prayer, which Cave refers to as a “prayer into the void,” is the final film in a trilogy, following 20,000 Days on Earth and One More Time With Feeling. The performance will stream as a ticketed event on the 23rd at 10:00 p.m. EST in North and South America, at 8:00 p.m. UK time across Europe, and at 8:00 p.m. AEST in Asia and Australia.