Monday, August 06, 2007
We met my brother and his wife and two of their friends in Charlottesville on Saturday for a Nickel Creek concert at the Charlottesville Pavilion. The Pavilion is at the end of the Downtown Mall, which is a several-blocks stretch of the old city that has been bricked up and planted with trees and turned into a wide pedestrian mall. There are lots of shops and restaurants in the old buildings along the mall, and the pavilion is down at the far end, sort of sunk down in a little ridge so lollygaggers on the mall can't see the stage and get treated to free concerts.
However, this placement of the pavilion ensures that not a breath of fresh air can penetrate the tent on hot, steamy nights. And it was hot and steamy Saturday night!
Here we all are, looking pretty good for being extremely overheated:
The concert was good, but a little disappointing. The band brought Fiona Apple with them as a "special guest," which turned out to mean that they sang her songs for probably almost half of the set. Apart from a funked-up bluegrass version of her hit "Criminal" and a wonderful cover of "Walking After Midnight" (you can't go wrong with Patsy Cline), this was not really what we wanted to hear. Fiona's deep voice is wonderful, and she blended fabulously with Sara Watkins' high soprano, but they should have incorporated her into their songs, I think, instead of the other way around. Then they closed the concert with three or four Fiona songs in a row, and came out for a one-song encore, which they all sang together.
It just wasn't really what the fans were expecting. This tour is called "Farewell for Now" as the band members are ready to move on and try out other paths, and it seemed to me that the set list should have been chock-full of all the songs the fans want to hear one last time.
Here's a mediocre shot of the stage...Sara Watkins on violin, Chris Thile on mandolin, their tour bassist whose name I can't remember or find at the moment, Fiona Apple, Sean Watkins on guitar:
There are much better pictures of the band on their website. They are an extremely talented group of people!
We ran into my cousin Alan, who lives in Charlottesville, at the concert, and had breakfast with him the next morning. Then the Harrisonburg contingent departed around lunchtime to get back to their assorted kiddies, and Todd and I strolled around on the Downtown Mall for a few hours, buying books and eating burgers and the best fries I've ever had--piping hot, salty, doused in malt vinegar. Yum.
Here's Todd at the burger joint, Five Guys:
Here's a shot of part of the mall:
Drove two hours back home, showered, and went to some friends' for a fantastic dinner (pork tenderloin and risotto) and came home and collapsed.
As I said to Todd, "It's fun to do stuff with people." You can tell we don't get out much.
(This week I'll be doing double walking to work off the ice cream, chorizo, cheese, burger, fries, risotto and brownie pie that entered my mouth this weekend. It was worth it, though!)