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Nick at The Cluny Newcastle Valentine's Day gig

Discussion in 'On Tour' started by Watcher, Feb 15, 2008.

  1. Watcher

    Watcher Computer stained fingers

    I arrived at the Cluny 45 minutes before the doors to the gig opened, so as I was on my own I settled down with a book and a pint (of orange juice) and had a good read (Brian Aldiss "The Airs of Earth" if anyone's interested). Doors opened at 8pm, another 50 minutes of reading before the man arrived on stage.

    As others have already said, the theme of the night was Everest, and a very interesting, enlightening and enjoyable theme it was too. Nick seems to have really gained a lot from his journey and we were the lucky recepients of a fund of stories that he brought back with him. Of course he started with There Is No Truth Up In The Mountains", a statement that he now vigorously denies.This was followed by Three Magpies, then By My Rocket Comes Fire, which started with a string break that he repaired before actually played the song, prompting a cry of "Getting Old!" This was the first of two string breaks, neither of which was replaced during play, but following the second a young lady in the audience asked if she could have his G string, to which he replied that both had actually been D strings, did she still want one. She did apparently.

    What does one say about the energy, the ability and the sheer exuberance of a Nick Harper performance? All his usual trademarks were there, the dazzling fretwork, the soaring vocals, the throat shredding magnificence of his singing. He seems to be re-invigorated by his trip to Nepal and his new song that has come out of it, 38, bodes very well for the next album.

    His between song banter is as entertaining as ever. Of the first time her ever got off his head, he said "I don't remember the 60s", and gave a little vignette of how it apparently happened:

    "Check the baby"

    "Yes Dear"

    Indrawn breath - exhale -

    "Yeah, he's ok"

    "Waa-aa-ah - ooooh mmmmm".

    He was on for over two and a quarter hours and still managed to remember all the words to "A Wiltshire Tale" before the encore. The Cluny is a great venue for Nick, and I'm torn between selfishly wanting to see him in that kind of ambience every time, and wanting him to break out of it and play bigger venues to a wider audience like he really deserves - a lot of people are missing out on something very special, and they should have the opportunity to experience the best - and Nick is the very best.

    Set list:

    There Is No Truth Up In The Mountains

    Three Magpies

    By My Rocket Comes Fire

    Treasure Island

    Guitar Man

    Real Life


    Field Of The Cloth Of Gold



    The Verse Time Forgot (intro) - cut short


    The verse Time Forgot

    My Imaginary Friend

    The Galaxy Song

    Love Is Music/Headless etc.

    A Wiltshire Tale

    Blue Sky Thinking
  2. Wee Steve

    Wee Steve Computer stained fingers

    Daughter #3 concurs. She thought he was awesome, enjoyed every moment, describes several "spectacular" songs, nearly cried over "Imaginary Friend", and bought the album.

    This generational thing is a bit worrying though, if only that it makes me feel rather old. We first took her to see Roy'n'Nick at Stansfield in 93.


    Her only disappointment last night was that Mike Gatting, whom she spotted in the bar, didn't buy everyone a drink.

    I bet he didn't share his kebab, either.
  3. scotpaulabear

    scotpaulabear Halfway up my own guitar, propping up another bar

    Watcher, fab FAB review! You pretty much said it all... I was writing something up for the Cluny website, you should probably submit that too :biggrin:

    I will say, I was surprised by how subdued the crowd was at times - but I was by the back so I might not have had a fair view. Loved the banter though!
  4. Watcher

    Watcher Computer stained fingers

    Nick at The Cluny Valentine's Day gig

    I've just sent the review to The Cluny - hopefully they'll put it up (if I've done it right and they've received it, that is!).

    The crowd perhaps wasn't quite as rowdy as usual, but that's not necessarily a bad thing - there was enough banter back and forth to keep Nick interested I think, but none of the stupidity that's been mentioned on recent posts to the other place.

    As far as the other comment about the generational thing, I'm just starting to take my 10 year old son to gigs. He went to Tull last year, we're going to Fairport Convention at The Sage in Gateshead next week, The Bootleg Beatles next month and Tull again in May. I'd have loved to take him to see Nick on Thursday, but both the venue and some of the spoken content of the gig was a little inappropriate for his age group, unfortunately. Roll on the time when I can take him - get them indoctrinated young is what I say!
  5. arthurprecarious

    arthurprecarious I've got a zappy little nappy

    The Williamson Tunnels

    I was at the show too - enjoyed it very much - Nick is an amazing player. During "Treasure Island" he talked about the Williamson Tunnels and the gig he played there.

    I'd never heard of them!!

    You can read about the gig and the tunnels here:-

  6. HarperPR

    HarperPR My destiny offers me up like a lamb

    Watcher, could you send me a copy of the review, please.

    As Paula had already kindly offered - see Write a gig review thread - to do something for the Cluny, we could have perhaps used yours elsewhere. I don't want people going to the trouble of writing
    something that we can't utilise.

    We have both people from here doing reviews, and writers from outside that have already been set up.
  7. It must have been good...you can even buy into it

    So good you can buy into it even if you weren`t there.....visit the dreaded Ebay item no. 160209365600 !
    I know it says D on the packet but where was it when it broke !!!!!!!
  8. critch

    critch Aye lad, I knew you had it in you

    You wouldn't be the seller would you by any chance kid? :eek:oh: (sorry if that emo doesn't come out right - on phone and trying to remember the character codes!)

    Simon left a certain "gig" last year with about 3 guitar strings of nick's. Only cause nick left them on a cafe table and we didn't want to litter. Bad nick! Lol. :)
  9. scotpaulabear

    scotpaulabear Halfway up my own guitar, propping up another bar

    Can it be a bad thing to have more than one person submitting a review? I just appreciated his work...
  10. HarperPR

    HarperPR My destiny offers me up like a lamb

    Good to have spread around a bit, no?! Have just PM'd you before saw post.
  11. KarinB

    KarinB Guest

    Me and my hubby were there too. (kid_vibrascope - I think we were chatting with you and your Dad???). I also have two halves of a string with a signed packet and his remaing one 'Throatie' still in it's packet - how much for that then??? Not that I would want to sell them.

    I was a little disappointed at the gig. Everest and all that goes with it is a fantastic topic to be able to talk about and say that you were there for the highest ever gig etc. etc. and I have the utmost respect for Nick and understand how much it has made him think about life in general but I wanted more music - or is that just being selfish and greedy?

    What really pleased me was that he sang 'The Verse That Time Forgot' for me and I appreciated that so much. Thanks Nick.

    Got to meet and chat/take photos with him after but he didn't seem the same to me then either - but he was a gentleman as he always is.

    Hi to Paula too - great to see you again.

    It wasn't a year since Nick was last at The Cluny - keep it uo Nick we can never get enough of you,
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 18, 2008
  12. scotpaulabear

    scotpaulabear Halfway up my own guitar, propping up another bar

    Will add my review in here - Last.FM playing silly buggers with the photo I added, grrr...



    The Cluny in Newcastle is a hidden gem - literally. So far, I've either had great taxi drivers or helpful friends make sure my horrid sense of direction doesn't lead me astray, but I sense that, even if you know the area, you could get lost in the winding maze of streets and slopes that lead you to this venue near the river and almost directly under Byker Bridge. And that would be a shame, as this venue is indeed a gem - even before you get to the music, there's the view, the cozy brickwork spaces, the friendly atmosphere, the great food, and the variety of fantastic beers and drinks on offer.

    And then, there's the music...

    This was the second time I'd been to see Nick Harper at the Cluny, and the first time since his return from his Everest adventure. I haven't yet tired of hearing about his exploits on the way to and from the highest gig in the world, and thankfully he hasn't tired of telling them. This is in my opinion a 'new and improved' Nick, revitalized by what he experienced and reinterpreting his live show to reflect that. He jokes about the way he is 'bollocking on' during the show, yet you couldn't have Nick's music live without hearing more about the life and thoughts of the man - one is reliant on the other. From joking about his father's 'unique' method of checking on the baby, to comparing two Nepalese children's grass ball to his son's train set (which apparently stretches from Wiltshire to Warrington!), to making the best of breaking string at entirely inopportune moments (and getting an offer for his G-string!), to sharing the 'portent' of his trip and how he dedicated it to the mother who inspired him so much... it was a rollercoaster of warmth, talent and emotion I was happy to ride for the two hours plus of the show.

    Also, I think the legendary musical skills on offer have gotten even more awe-inspiring. Those who know me know that I have seen more than my share of Nick's live shows in the last decade, but that's at least partly because I know each one will be different from the last and the next. And lately, he's even been surprising me by the new heights to which he's taking his guitar playing and vocals. I found myself stunned during his vocal pyrotechnics on 'Real Life', almost holding my breath with the beauty of them. Even a brand new song about the 38 who participated in Everest Rocks, with a Western epic sweep, is captivating on first listen.

    To me, the one minor problem with the evening was the energy of the crow, or lack thereof. Though people were enjoying themselves, and some did offer good banter and feedback, much of the crowd on the lower floor by the stage seemed a bit... flat. It's hard to describe, but from the back where I was standing it just seemed like the energy Nick was sending out wasn't really getting much response. They were respectful, just not as 'up for it' as the last time I was there. It didn't seem to affect Nick much if at all, but I was surprised that the energetic performance wasn't getting more vibes back. By the end of the night and the second restringing adventure (complete with Wiltshire poetry), there seemed to be more vitality, so maybe it just took a while. It didn't interfere with the pleasure of the evening anyway.

    Thanks to Nick and the Cluny for yet another amazing night. (Oh, and in case you hadn't noticed the date of this gig, thanks to my very understanding other half!) Consider this review a valentine to the pure joy of a Nick Harper live show... then share the love with all the music fans you know.
  13. KarinB

    KarinB Guest

    Great review, Paula, and it sums the evening up to a T.

    We were on the lower floor by the stage and trying our best to join in the with the whole eveining - shame not many others were too.

    I did hear quite a few people chatting and noticed others messing with their phones while Nick was on. Shame on you!!!
  14. pH

    pH I've got a zappy little nappy

    I'm ignoring this for logistic reasons. However, having seen Nick before I do have a great imagination.


    Can I get Nick to come to Sydney?
  15. scotpaulabear

    scotpaulabear Halfway up my own guitar, propping up another bar

    I've got some friends in Brisbane that might want to help talk him into that! :biggrin:
  16. pH

    pH I've got a zappy little nappy

    It has to happen ... I know Nick wants to do it - he told us at Clon in 2'06. It has to happen ... maybe Byron Bay is the answer.


    I'm desperate ...

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