I first saw Nickel Creek at Merlefest in about 1995, I believe. I think that Chris Thile and Sara Watkins were around 14 years old and that Sara's brother Sean is either 3 or 4 years older. I do remember being mighty impressed with these youngsters! In the following years I became a big fan and had a blast watching and listening to them mature. I met them and their families personally in 1998 at the IBMA convention in Louisville, and always looked forward to seeing and hearing them at various festivals around the country.
During this time I had turned my family on to the Nickel Creek music. In December of 2001 I got a call from my lovely daughter in law Jenny, asking if Lynn and I would like to go to Milwaukee with her and my daughter Monica to see a Nickel Creek concert. It took a bit of talking for me to agree...it was a long drive and I had just seen them a couple of months before, but the girls were very excited about the concert, so away we went. On the way down there Jen was thinking outloud that I could get everyone backstage, seeing as how I knew the group. I told her that this probably could be arranged if the timing was right, but that I don't usually go way out of my way to do this....
So---the concert was held at a venue that usually caters to the heavy-metal kind of music/crowd! I even had to empty my pocket of my little Swiss army knife that is always present...they didn't want any stabbings in the place! And once you entered you couldn't leave and re-enter...this was not feeling good. The only chairs in the place were a few folding chairs on the perimeter of the big room...so Lynn and I took seats and Monica and Jenny established standing positions right in front of the stage. And the wait was horrible....the club was blasting heavy-metal music and there was no escaping the onslaught! About the time I thought I'd go completely bonkers Nickel Creek came out and the concert began...just in the nick of time. >g<
And they rocked the place! Hotter than hot....Lynn and I were actually on the outskirts of the crowd and actually had a great view and the sound was good besides. I didn't envy the girls being crushed at the front of the stage, but I suppose that "crushed" is an unaccurate term, for they were diggin' it.
After the music ended we all found each other, and the girls were estatic...it was a great concert! We were just standing around, feeling the excitement, when a fellow came up to Monica and said: "Sean would like to say "hi"..." She smiled and said: "Hi". He (Nickel Creek's road manager) went on to explain that Sean would really like to meet her and asked if that would be possible, and she said: "sure..." (and we all smiled...)
So we waited around for the band to come out and when they did they were quickly surrounded by folks wanting their autographs. Sean was intent on getting closer to Monica and it was fun to watch the looks on all the girls' faces who were trying to get his autograph when they realized that he was trying to get Monica's autograph! >g<
At this point Lynn and I wandered off to find the restrooms, which were closing quickly! It took awhile to navigate the place and by the time we got back to the music room Monica and Jenny and Sean had disappeared. Chris was still there talking with a fan and when he saw me he greeted me and I replied with: "I'm looking for my daughter...I think she's with Sean." Chris gave a funny little explanation that if she was with Sean she's in good hands, etc...he's a hoot. So, we did end up backstage and had a fun rest of the night...they had some great food and some great beer back there!
Anyhoo...what were the odds that Sean would pick out a girl from the crowd to meet that happened to be there with her Father?!
I'll have a part 2 of this story...later.