In February, I received some of the best news of my year. Legendary bluegrass trio, Nickel Creek, was recording a new album and planning to book shows around the country. Of course, in strategic fashion, one of the first shows announced was the legendary Ryman Auditorium, the Mother Church in Nashville, Tennessee. Completed in 1892, the Union Gospel Tabernacle was renamed the Ryman in honor of Thomas G. Ryman, the man who vowed to create a great tabernacle after finding salvation through evangelist Sam Jones. Anyone that is somebody has performed in the Ryman Auditorium, primarily known for country but recognized as the Birthplace of Bluegrass. This venue has been a must-visit for me, but never did I imagine that I would have an opportunity to see Nickel Creek, who had sat in retirement in a seven-year hiatus. Over the years, I had actually seen all three members in their personal music pursuits (The Punch Brothers, Chris Thile, Sara Watkins, and the Watkin’s Family Band). I honestly didn’t even appreciate Nickel Creek as a band until years after they broke up. With an early release date announced for tickets to this show, I started strategizing.
I took advantage of my tech ‘geekness’ and recognized that Nickel Creek was hosting the ticket sales on their own website, but was powering the transactions through CrowdSurge, a third-party ticket vendor. Anticipating a massive crowd of people logging in, I created a back-end account with CrowdSurge and started navigating the side ahead of time, learning my way through the navigation with shows that were currently selling tickets. I memorized my credit card number and eagerly waited on tickets to go live. Immediately after launching, the Nickel Creek website crashed. My heart beated rampantly and I pushed on to the third-party site to see that tickets were there.I tossed 2 individual seats into my shopping cart and recited my memorized card number into the form. Within 30 seconds, I had a confirmation email and tickets to the show. I connected with friends from all over that were going after the tickets, with very few people succeeding. It felt like I had beat the system. All of those irrational e-commerce decisions were proving valuable!
I managed to grab a pair of tickets days later when they reopened tickets via Ticketmaster; auto-refresh apps for the win. Within a few weeks, I sold the other three tickets and was able to purchase a round-trip flight to Nashville and pay for my ticket with the profits.
Alabama female duo Secret Sisters opened up the evening at the Ryman. Beautiful harmonies and a great stage presence made them the perfect fit. I sat on the edge of the pew in the front row of the auditorium balcony to watch Nickel Creek reappear after way too many years. The show was two hours of excellence. A variety of both new and old kept the night flying by, and I sat mesmerized by Chris Thile’s impeccable mandolin skills. The bands honorary fourth member, who plays the upright bass, even surprised the audience with a tap dance which resulted in one of the several standing ovations.
So, another venue visit is crossed off the bucket list, which was much-needed after the last Summer fiasco at Red Rocks that left me with an arena show and an excuse to get back to Denver. Go see the shows that make your heart beat fast. An experience is a story, much better than an album sitting on your shelf. (this isn’t a Spotify endorsement, I promise)