As I was driving to Letterkenny last night the 15 year old me was exceptionally excited. This young teenager had been a huge Nik Kershaw fan and the bedroom wall was papered with his face. However the now 40+ something me was a tad more reluctant to get excited! I hadn't followed Nik for many years and didn't know much about his recent work. So in truth I was following the 15 year old's dream but was in reality a very hesitant 40+ last night.
On arrival at An Grianan Theatre in Letterkenny I immediately noticed that almost everyone present was indeed from that 80's era. There were a few younger faces, and indeed a few older, but the core audience was my era (40+...and I'm being kind!)
Just after 8pm Nik Kershaw came on stage. Still a little man, but now with grey hair, as opposed to the blonde I remembered, and a lot more wrinkles, he commenced the show with his song, 'Fiction'. I was immediately drawn to the lyrics and how apt they were. As the night progressed the lyrics were becoming ever present in my head. Nik Kershaw's new work alongside his older was all filled with lyrics which touch the soul, the body, the real world. I'd never noticed that when I was 15! Why? All I noticed then was the catchy tunes and the cool dude! This was different.
Certainly I'm more mature. Certainly Nik is more mature. But this music was stripped to the core. Kershaw was playing acoustic and it worked. Even 'Would't it be Good' was still a catchy tune, and it was exceptional played like this. The lyrics were yet again streaming in front of me. Everyone is envious at times. We all want to think the 'grass is greener'. However, the reality is different.
Not only was the music great last night, but Nik Kershaw was a hugely entertaining performer. He had us laughing, he had us melancholic with his stories. His song 'The Red Strand' would bring a tear to ones eye, knowing he wrote it for his wife on their wedding day. The man has soul!
One of the most notable features of this show was the computer icons of Kershaw's alter ego's, Rupbert and Frank. I found this to be a fascinating attribute of the show. Rupbert was the positive ego and Frank the pessimist. Again, this only served to enhance my new found respect for Nik Kershaw. This portrayed a reality in everyone. We all have alter ego's and may not be quite as ready to admit such. But Rupbert and Frank were and clearly are, very much a part of Nik.
Kershaw performed many of his old songs in acoustic last night, including 'The Riddle', 'Don Quixote', 'Wouldn't it be Good', 'I Won't Let the Sun go down on Me'. The words all came flooding back to the audience. Alongside these were new songs such as 'Billy', 'Frank', 'The Red Strand' and so many more. However my new favourite has got to be 'Fools and Lovers'. This song just struck a chord with me last night.
One of the highlights of last night with the audience was definitely Chesney Hawkes 'One and Only', written by Nik Kershaw. But 'Human Racing' came a close second on the encore. For me, the entire evening was a highlight. I never expected to enjoy Nik as much as I did. A one man show, with just a guitar and pedal loop proved to be outstanding. I was a dire heart fan in the '80's. I'm now an admirer and huge advocate of this seriously talented singer songwriter.
The big hair, the baggy suits may be gone. Alas, Nik Kershaw is still writing and performing some amazing songs. This is one 80's icon that has just gotten better!