Last night Nickel Creek played here in Roanoke, Virginia, as one of the stops on their Farewell (For Now) Tour. It was a late addition to the tour and tickets sold out quickly. The concert took place in a nice theater environment at the Jefferson Center, where Chris, Sara and Sean, joined by Mark Schatz on the bass, put on a great show.
The show is everything you’d expect from this youthful bunch of seasoned pickers. They performed their hits, starting with the newest ones and working their way backward towards The Fox, intermingled with newer material. As a fan of the band, it was great to get to hear them perform these songs live one more time, but the fun came from the newer material.
It’s not uncommon for rock, pop, or country bands to espouse political views from the stage, but it’s somewhat unheard of at a bluegrass show. I guess the freedom Nickel Creek enjoys from not having the bluegrass label firmly affixed, gave them the liberty to venture into that realm. They firmly stated their pro-progress stance, Chris was very firm about it, and addressed an issue of national concern to all, the state of our National Policy on Breakups. That’s right, they feel we need drastic reform in this area. Chris has even written a political protest type song on the matter. His song is titled, If You’re Going To Leave Me (Set Me Up With One Of Your Friends). The whole affair, including the dialog leading up to the performance, was quite possibly my favorite moment of the evening. Great music, and great humor!
Following that song, which Chris described as “ridiculous,” Sara gave us a preview of an upcoming solo CD by singing a breakup song she hopes to include on the recording. I believe Chris described her song as “sublime.”
What gripped me about the band’s performance was the fact that they have been playing some of these songs for years, yet corporately, and individually, they still manage to find room for exploration.
Overall, the show was good, but in a way, somewhat melancholy. I’m excited about Chris’ new band the Punch Brothers, and I’m sure Sean and Sara will play some great music in the future, but it’s always sad to say goodbye to a band you love.
Farewell Nickel Creek…for now.
Don’t forget that the last two shows of the tour will take place at the Ryman Auditorium later this month, and both shows will be taped for a future DVD release. Both shows are already sold out, but the DVD will be available to all!