Nick at Biddy Friel's, Letterkenny,
Wednesday 6 October 2004 - by Ian Cropton

A very tough gig for Nick, which I think he handled as well as can be expected. Biddy Friel's is a lovely old mansion which has been recently renovated to provide a bar, restaurant, pool room and dance hall/club room. The venue has only just started to promote a variety of live music gigs on alternate Wednesdays and Nick's gig was its third outing. Based on previous gigs, they were hoping for 100-120 people to show up. The miserably wet weather must have put a damper on things as there were only about 30 people in attendance when Nick kicked off at 9.30. The show was originally due to start at 9 (when there were only 5 of us in the place).

I think I may have been the only one there who was familiar with Nick's music, though there were several people of a similar age to me who had come on the strength of remembering Mr Harper senior. Much retuning between songs and on the fly during songs, and his voice struggled with the first song: "Sorry about that, I think my voice is still somewhere on the N1, hope it arrives soon'"

Despite all the problems, he managed to produce a set of very high quality. The soundman, a local musician, was very worried beforehand that the room's acoustics weren't great, and thought that the volume would be too high. In the event the sound was very crisp and a delight to hear, with only the guitar pyrotechnics during Love Is Music getting a bit muddy.

The set as best as I can remember it [in no particular order]:
She Rules My World / Radio Silence / The Magnificent G7 / The Verse Time Forgot / Guitar Man/Whole Lotta Love / My Little Masterpiece / The Galaxy Song / Peace, Love And Happiness (Nick: "At long last I can say that I'm glad that Maggie's still around, so she can wallow in the mire") / The Kilty Stone / Karmageddon / Building Our Own Temple

As the prime seating for the best sound was a little way away from the stage, there was quite a distance between Nick and the nearest audience. So he came down off the stage and serenaded one table with the instrumental Like Punk Never Happened before climbing back on stage to finish with Love Is Music which had some new interludes in - not those on Double Life. Didn't recognise them though [probably Jeff Buckley etc. - P.]

He then said he would now pretend to finish, even though he had another 4 hours or so of music in him: "So I could do an encore now or we could just sit down and have a pint together." The audience, very sedate throughout the whole set gave him a polite round of applause and for a minute I thought that would be the end of the set. So I shouted out "More!", which got some strange looks from those near me, and he duly obliged us with "another sickly song about my daughter" - Lily's Song. At the finish, he thanked the promoter for inviting him to Donegal, thanked the audience for supporting live music and asked us to continue to support this new venue, and with a big thankyou to the soundman, he put the guitar down, picked up a newly poured pint and joined one of the tables and started chatting away. I would have liked to stay and chat myself, but he didn't seem to be budging from the table he'd joined and I needed to get off home after 2 killer days at work. So I left regretfully. I hope he gets a better reception in Derry...

Created 4 June 2005
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