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Home » John Paul Jones

Metro, Chicago

9 August 2004 2,620 views No Comment

This from Jay M Lewis
Although I didn’t have plans to arrive early, I actually ended up getting to the venue a LOT earlier than I had anticipated. Needless to say, there were only three other people in front of me in line, so what was going to be a “show up late and hang out in the back of the hall” evening turned into a “leaning against the stage, dead-center, first row” kind of an evening! ; ) As far as I could tell, there was really only one misguided Zeppelin fan who showed up with a cardboard sign with Jonsey’s symbol shakinly drawn in red marker. The vast majority of the fans were Nickel Creek and Glen Phillips fans. Since I’m a huge fan of Nickel Creek and Toad the Wet Sprocket/Glen Phillips, I was jazzed for the show, to say the least.

I was in the front row for the JPJ show in Cincinatti for the Zooma tour, and that entire evening was a phenominal experience. Not only was I able to see my musical mentor and idol tear the place down, but Jonsey participated in a very nice “meet and great” autograph and photo session for about an hour after the show. I was wondering if the vibe would be the same on this tour. I have also seen Nickel Creek before, but never in such a small venue and at such a close vantage point. It was an experience!!! ; )

The show was absolutely fantastic, as the setlist included a nice mix of Nickel Creek material, Glen Phillips tunes, and a nod to the Zep days. Personally, I felt that the JPJ feature and Zep numbers could have been better chosen. Why not “That’s The Way”, taking advantage of the harmonizing abilities of the N.C. crew? Even Bron Y Aur would have been a great selection. “Gallows” just seemed too loose and there didn’t seem to be much commitment from the band. John Paul’s mandolin piece was nice, and his harmonies were spot-on for the accapella piece “Anthony”. That number was very nice indeed, and is one that I had not heard Nickel Creek perform before. The crowd was really into this one.

Overall, Chris Thile’s mandolin warblings made all the girls scream and swoon and he periodically flopped around and ran to the front of the stage to pose in some sort of “80’s guitar rock God meets bluegrass child prodigy” move. His stellar showmanship and ability to work the crowd kept the energy up and the feets-a-shufflin’ (think Page’s tease before he comes out of the Heartbreaker solo). Sara and Shawn Watkins played mostly a supportive role on this tour, and Glen Phillips was outstanding. His chraisma and ability to deliver a melody are superb.

As for Jonsey, he seemed to be having a great time back in the shadows once again. While he did step up to the mic a few times, his comments throughout the show were reluctant, but funny, and he seemed like he was more content with laying down a solid groove and holding everything together….which is exactly what he’s done to perfection for the last 40 years! ; ) It was great to see the master at work again, and the fluidity and power of his playing still amazes me. Not only has he not list a step in the last 3 decades, he might just be playing better now that he ever has been. Outstanding!!!

The entire night was a great success. I met some amazing people who had traveled from NY and MI to see the show, got a few autographs afterwards, and had a chance to chat with Hugh Manson about the tour, his bass shop in the UK, and how he doesn’t seem to have any time to build basses anymore! ; ) Now, if I can only find someone who has a tape of the show……

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