Friday, August 15, 2014

Nickel Creek dazzles Cary on reunion tour with new songs, classics

Thursday night brought incredibly mild weather and the perfect conditions for a big outdoor show at Cary's Koka Booth Amphitheater. The venue hosted reunited bluegrass/newgrass group Nickel Creek who are celebrating their 25th year in 2014.

The band hit the stage and it immediately seemed as if no time had passed since they last toured in 2007. They kicked things off with "Rest of My Life," the opening track from their new album A Dotted Line. The playful onstage antics were back, they sounded fantastic and they seem energized by the hiatus and the new music.

Third in the set was the title track from their 2002 album This Side. I've seen Nickel Creed quite a few times over the years and I this is the first time I've seen Sean Watkins sing the lead vocals on the chorus live. Thile used to sing the chorus live but hearing Watkins' sing it live was great.

They hit many of the classics including "The Lighthouse's Tale," "Reasons Why" and "Ode to a Butterfly." Their later music from Why Should the Fire Die? is still some of their best. "When in Rome" and "Helena" were highlights of the set.

One of the best songs of the set was a killer cover of the Fleetwood Mac deep cut "The Ledge." The band closed out the main set bringing the energy way up with a one-two punch of "Hayloft," their version of the Mother Mother tune, and the old showstopper "The Fox."

The band only left the stage briefly before Chris Thile bounded back on stage for an encore of the fiddle tune "Cuckoo's Nest" complete with tap dancing by bassist Mark Schatz. The show closed with their beautiful version of Sam Phillips' "Where is Love Now."

Nickel Creek is back and sound as good as ever. We don't know whether or not the band will stay active after this year's tour, but they did end the show by saying "See you next time." Hopefully they meant it.

Set list
Rest of My Life
Scotch and Chocolate
This Side
The Lighthouse's Tale
Smoothie Song
Reasons Why
21st of May
When in Rome
Ode to a Butterfly
The Ledge
Somebody More Like You
Elephant in the Corn
When You Come Back Down
The Fox
Cuckoo's Nest
Where is Love Now

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