The stage was waiting with a single microphone and a small table with a pint of beer on. The punters on a wet Sunday night at Komedia were mostly tucking into their food and chattering. What an eclectic bunch. Had they really all come to see Nick Harper?
Enter Nick, bathed in liquid gas effect ‘smoke’ and white light shining down on him………….
Straight into No Truth Up In The Mountains to rapturous applause from all. Thanks goodness, I had fears that a coachload of people had strayed in by mistake but I was wrong. The word is out that Harperspace is for all.
Nick stated that of course the song was rubbish as he now knew there was truth and more in the mountains and he began to involve the audience in stories of how he participated in a trek to play in the world’s highest gig at base camp on Mount Everest. What has become for him an inspirational trip has achieved much for the LoveHopeStrength Foundation, the cancer charity founded by Mike Peters.
Changing track a tad, he then talked about his childhood antics and the first time he flew high. This was when his dad swung him up and around by his ankles and he recalled the feeling he had on coming down and staggering about the garden. He then moved effortlessly into Aeroplane, a song that describes the results of other means of being high. Swiftly followed by Good Bus and By My Rocket Comes Fire, a new number titled 38, before launching into an energetic Guitar Man with Whole Lotta Love.
Inevitably there had to be at least one call from the audience of ”How’s your Dad?”, referring of course to the legendary Roy Harper. “He’s fine,” Nick whips back. He gets this all the time but tonight is about Nick and it was clear he wanted to move on. Move on he did…. and we were off again into a whirlwind history tour with Field of the Cloth of Gold from his last album.
After nearly three hours, “It’s nearly time to go”, says Nick, “so my next song lasts about an hour…..”, well it was about 20 mins of Love Is Music winding back and forth entwined with the likes of Jeff Buckley, Blur and Led Zeppelin.
Cheered back on for an encore., it of course had to be Zappa’s “Titties and Beer”, now a stock Harper favourite.
Nick said on a few occasions how privileged he is to be able to play, write and do the things he loves. I believe tonight we were all very privileged to see him and the best thing was to turn to your neighbour and watch them smiling too. In fact the whole evening had been a joy ride of pleasure.
© Linda Carter