I took this photo earlier tonight. Those folks in the photo are Nickel Creek, along with Bela Fleck. If it looks like the photo was taken in a basement, it was — or, a little venue on Nashville’s 8th Avenue called “The Basement.”
I was sitting on the front row with my wife and son, who’s out of school tomorrow. (Felt bad for my daughter whose “junior paper” is due tomorrow. She’s a huge fan of Sara Watkins, left.)
My son asked if I was going to “blog it.” I said I couldn’t, as this is one of those times where I can conjure no words that do justice to a Chris Thile solo performance in a basement that holds 50 people…and then the rest of the folks in the photo show up.
For those who may not know, the two musicians in the middle of this photo, Fleck on banjo and Thile on mandolin, are true masters of their respective instruments — certainly among the most innovative musicians ever to play either instrument. But I’ll admit, I’m a Thile fanatic. On this blog, in 2002, I said he was other-worldly and godlike. He’s the Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan, (fill-in-iconic-figure-of-your-choice-here) of the mandolin.
Tonight, Thile’s selections ranged from Bach’s Sonata No.2 in A-minor for violin to the most incredible bluegrass I’ve ever heard to a cover of the Beatles “Fool on the Hill” and wonderful stuff all in-between.
I’ve heard him perform with Nickel Creek in front of 10,000 people at Dancin’ in the District and at the Ryman during the taping of a PBS special, and with Mark O’Connor at the Ingram center at Vanderbilt, but I must admit, hearing him from about four feet away in a basement concert is perhaps the most incredible
musical performances I’ve ever witnessed.
He’ll be doing some more of these Thursday night concerts, so watch the Nickel Creek website.
And thanks to John, who told me about the concert as I was leaving the office.