Good times with Nickel Creek and RENT

I revisited an old friend recently and made a new one over the weekend.

I saw Nickel Creek in concert Saturday night, and despite my long held belief that I hated them, I have to now admit that they are a good group. It’s just too bad they’re going on hiatus. Otherwise, I’d become quite the fan. As it is, I have to say their performance at the Brown Theatre in Louisville stands as one of my favorite concert experiences, and I look forward to hearing more of their music.

The best thing about them was their genuine thankfulness of their fans’ adoration, which they tried to return in kind throughout the concert and afterward as they mingled with several people and shared stories.

To close their show, the group reiterated their statement that the Brown was one of the best places to see (and play) a concert. They proved this point by performing the set closer without any amplifiers or microphones, letting the natural sound of the instruments and voices carry throughout the venue. The audience responded with absolute silence, at least until the chorus when more than a few sniffles began circulating as tears fell.

Afterward, they talked to people outside their tour bus, as my friend Jess and I stopped for a picture (it was an advance birthday trip, and if she wanted a picture and/or autograph of her favorite band, well that’s what we’ll do). Our chat with the mandolin player went like this:

Jess: Are you the best mandolin player in the world. (Pause). ‘Cause, see, my friend here says you’re not. (Points to me).
Mandolin Player: Um, well, um, I mean I don’t think I’m the best.
Kevin: Now to be fair, I’ve always said Del McCoury’s son is the best.
Mandolin Player: Oh yeah, Ronnie’s good.
Kevin: But I have to say, you really impressed me tonight.

Gee, thanks there, Jess. In my defense, I wasn’t trying to be rude; I just was caught off guard and was trying to say that the guy won me over with his skills. I don’t think that’s how it came off.

To his credit, Mandolin Player (Chris something, but I’m far too lazy today to look up his name; I’m sure someone out there will do that and leave a comment, thus taking the burden off me), wound up having a good talk with me, as we discussed the show, the Brown and Bruce Springsteen. In the end, he thanked me for being a new fan.

And that sold me on Nickel Creek.
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This was taken after the Better Mandolin Player Fiasco, so he can’t be that made at me. Also, does he look like a cross between Jude Law and Nick Morehead?

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Jude Law
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Nick Morehead

As for visiting an old friend, I watched RENT Monday night in Lexington, and even though I’ve only seen the show twice on stage (and the movie version several more times), I feel rather familiar with Mark, Roger, et al thanks to the Broadway soundtrack.

It felt good to hear those wonderful songs live and on stage, and the emotions from the production were evident throughout the night in the performers and the audience.

I’ll save my complete RENT thoughts for another day, but for now, let me just say it was what I needed to hear in this time of transition and change. For a show with so much death, it certainly highlights life and how to live it. No day but today, they sing.

Amen.

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3 thoughts on “Good times with Nickel Creek and RENT

  1. Jackie and I saw them at Singletary Center in Lexington Sunday night. We have both been big fans since we saw them there in 2005. Their three CDs are played often in our house and continuously in my car right now. We were very sad that we might not ever see them again together, so the evening was somewhat bittersweet. They also did an acoustic/unplugged set at the end and invited the audience to join them on stage (I estimated about 150). I don’t know if you had the same opening act, but it was Mr. Russo from “Freaks and Geeks”. Not funny at all – actually, Jackie and I figured he was maybe 20% funny, but the “Freaks and Geeks” connection was cool. We also figured out that Chris Thile’s last name is pronounced “thee-lee”, although Jackie says she always knew that. I am crazy jealous that you got to talk to him, although I’m sure I would have been a total dork. My sister went out to dinner and dancing with Sting back in 1988 in Tokyo, and I’m still sick about that, although again, I probably wouldn’t have been able to speak. Anyway, glad you enjoyed them.

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