Saturday, May 3, 2014

The Time I Met My Favorite Band On The Subway

It's not every day that each original member of your favorite band sits down next to you on the B train, but when it happens, trust me, you won't quite know what you're supposed to do. I know this because this exact scenario happened recently to me and my husband.

The band in question: Nickel Creek (not to be confused with Nickelback). They are an acoustic folk/bluegrass trio, and I have loved them ever since I was a kid. In fact, in the time that I have known this band, I have fallen in-and-out of love with several musical acts -- The Spice Girls, Christina Aguilera, Sisqo, Creed (oh shut up, we were all young once) -- but Nickel Creek is one of those enduring musical favorites, the kind that you keep until your ears don't work anymore.

If you're unfamiliar with these guys, don't worry, so was everyone else in our subway car. Here's what they look like:


Their music has not only been a part of my life for years, but it has also shaped some really great moments from my relationship with my husband, Daniel. He's now admitted that he first started listening to Nickel Creek in high school as a way to impress me. Whenever I would ride around town with him in his Jeep, he'd have their albums at the ready, and we'd sing along with each track the whole way through. Years later, the day Daniel proposed to me, we drove about two hours to La Grange, Texas singing Nickel Creek and other musical favorites. When he got down on one knee in the gazebo where we first met, he said, "I just want to continue singing in cars with you for the rest of my life."

And we still do, and for the record, it's still a lot of Nickel Creek. So yeah, you could say this band is kind of a big deal to us.

Anyway, on Tuesday night, they played an incredible show at the Beacon Theater here in NYC but not before having a really awkward encounter with two adoring fans on the B Train.

Nickel Creek crushing it at the Beacon

Here's how it went down:

Daniel and I were on our way to the concert of our aforementioned favorite band, Nickel Creek. There we were riding that Beyonce Train (that's what I call the B Train when I want to feel more glamorous). We crossed over the Manhattan bridge with its breathtaking views of the Brooklyn Bridge, which has nothing to do with this story, but I just wanted to show you this pretty picture:

A view I get to see almost every day of my life (only the Freedom Tower is a bit more complete now)

I was convinced we were going to be late because we'd had to miss a train when we were buying a new subway card for Daniel (he'd accidentally left his wallet at home). At Broadway-LaFayette, I watched a group of people enter the train, and then I proceeded to check my phone to see just how late we were going to be (which was not at all). Out of the corner of my eye, I spotted someone wearing a lanyard of some kind with a tag that sported a familiar image. I stared intently at it and realized that it was this picture exactly:

It was the cover of Nickel Creek's new album and beneath it was written "backstage pass". I pointed this out to Daniel whose head had been blocking the rest of the group. Daniel turned his head and then quickly whipped it back, and I will never forget the words that he whispered right then --


Now, when I curse, that's nothing special. That's like a Tuesday for me. When Daniel curses, something either terribly wrong or terribly wonderful has happened. I remember only a handful of occasions where this has occurred, one of which involved him realizing that he had eaten a cookie with nuts in it (he's allergic). 

Daniel leaned back so I could get a clear view of the situation, and sure enough, a foot or two away from us sat Chris Thile, Sara Watkins, and the guy with the lanyard was Sean Watkins. They were sitting with another woman who was probably someone very important, who knows, but she was not our concern at that moment.

First, we giggled. Quietly, though, and certainly we made attempts not to stare. Then began the strategizing. What exactly was this moment supposed to be? 

As people who live in a place where celebrity-sightings are common, we felt it important not to actively bother them. Still, we knew we would feel ridiculous not acknowledging them. We had several more stops before we would all need to get off at 72nd street, so as ridiculous as it sounds, we decided to delay our engagement until two stops before. In that incredibly awkward waiting period, we devised our talking points. I had a solid opening line, and Daniel would swoop in with something charming. I decided I wouldn't mind a picture with them if the opportunity presented itself, and Daniel was ready to take said picture. We watched as the 59th St - Columbus Circle signs passed our window. It was time.

I leaned forward, "Um...hi, excuse me...we're actually on our way to your show right now..."

Solid, right? I thought so. And so did they. They were incredibly nice, but they obviously didn't find the moment as serendipitous as we did. Chris Thile high-fived me, and I could not believe the readiness with which he did. This is a man whose entire livelihood depends on his hands being able to shred it on the mandolin, and here he was just giving out high fives to a strange woman on the subway like it was nothing. The following video will probably do a good job of explaining why his hands should be insured:

I told them all thank you for making awesome music, and after this, Chris followed up with, "Awesome, hope you guys have a great time!" It was a perfectly nice thing to say, but it did effectively end the conversation. We understood, though. They were about to perform a sold out show at the Beacon, so they probably had very professional things to process together...

...but they didn't. Instead of resuming their conversation, we all just sat there pretty quietly until it was time to get off. When we all realized we were heading in the same direction, Daniel and I decided to give them a bit of head start. This was a poor decision because it really perpetuated a stalker vibe that we were hoping to avoid. We walked about ten feet behind them, giggling like school girls, and I heard the woman they were with say, "I knew they recognized you."

It was at this point that we decided to lose them at a cross walk, and soon after that was when I realized I'd forgotten to get my picture. "Don't worry," Daniel said, "I snapped a quick one of them walking back there." I was pleased with this news even though it definitely confirmed our stalker status. Here's what he got:

Nailed it.

It doesn't matter though. Well, I say that now. At the time I was pretty bummed, but here's why it doesn't matter:

While these are arguably great people, they are not the reason I'm excited when I hear Nickel Creek's music. When I hear their songs, all I think about are high school dates with my boyfriend, Daniel, driving through the streets of Hutto, Texas, circling the block again and again, kids with no desire to make curfew and no idea what our futures would hold. I think about the man who loved doing this so much that he decided to marry me.

And so, yes, I am a fan of Nickel Creek, but I am a much bigger fan of that guy who came into my life, adopted my favorite band, and promised me that he would sing songs in cars with me for the rest of his life.

And I've got tons of pictures with that guy, so I think I'm good. 

I'd like to leave you with one last Nickel Creek song. This is one that I listened to a bit mindlessly for years, not really thinking about what the lyrics meant. When I first came to New York for an internship, Daniel told me to listen to it as my plane landed. It is a song all about the power of believing in the person you love. Feel free to share it with someone you believe in.

(Try to ignore how much this album cover screams the mid-90s)

Oh, and by the way, the concert was obviously amazing. They are on tour right now, so I highly recommend checking them out if they come to a city near you

Anyway, that's all I've got. Do you have a celebrity-sighting story? Share it in the comments!


  1. Holy goodness. I would have freaked... or not recognized them at all. We can't wait to see them next week here in MN

    1. Not going to lie, I definitely did not recognize Sean, and he was the only one I could see at first.

      You are in for a treat when they come to MN! They are just so great live, it's unbelievable.

  2. I love the story of what their music means to you, and I love that your husband said he wants to keep singing songs in cars with you forever. So sweet. :)

    1. Glad you liked it! I never want to be too sappy, but let's be for real, that was a super sweet thing for him to say.

  3. My celebrity sightings have always been bands. Or Hulk Hogan since he lives in my town. But when I was waiting for a concert in St Pete, I went to the Starbucks across the street and saw Andrew Mcmahon (of Jack's Mannequin, Something Corporate, etc) who was playing a show at a different venue in town that night. It was awesome meeting him and I had a realization that I was waiting n line for the wrong concert hahah. I love the way this post made me feel, as cheesy as that sounds. All I want is a boy to adopt my favorite band and sing them forever with me. Maybe someday! :P

  4. I love Nickel Creek! I first started listening to them in college my freshman year which was 11 years ago now. Yikes! I live an hour outside of LA and they used to play sometimes at this little restaurant called Largo. My friends and I would go and pay a lot of money for really good ravioli just it see them. It was so small that you could talk to them afterwards. I never had the nerve, but my best friend was more gutsy than me so she did. So fun that you got to meet them!


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