Happy Birthday to Nick – our favorite keyboardist!
The word “rapid” comes to mind today. “The years fly by, in rapid succession.” I would swear I just wrote a birthday blog for him, and here I am, writing another!
Every year, I try to come up with some sort of personal anecdote when I’m writing a birthday message. It isn’t always easy because I don’t see the band every year (although it’s fantastic when I do!). This year though, I think I might have one!
My favorite “Nick” moment as of late has been at the shows. Since the most recent (for me) was the second show at Agua Caliente in March, I’ll go with that one. In the past few years, I’ve been lucky enough to get good seats at the shows. By “good” I mean that we’re in the first few rows, and I have a decent line of sight to the band. In March though, I was up front and center which afforded me the opportunity to really be able to see every band member and watch their expressions at various times during the show.
I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it, but “Hungry Like the Wolf” is not my favorite song. I know, I know, it’s hard to believe, isn’t it….given that the band plays it at EVERY SINGLE SHOW. Well, as the opening chords begin, I have a difficult time of not rolling my eyes. I can’t swear to it, but I think the band might know this, because there have been moments when I would swear upon a stack of bibles that some members look my way when it starts just to see my reaction. Typically, I hang my head in defeat for a brief second, then remember that – oh yes, they can see me (whether or not they really do isn’t the point) – and I try to get back in the program. I’ll look up, and invariably, Nick is peering down over his keyboards with the most amused expression on his face.
(I almost hate to let him down by not having a reaction….even though I think he knows that yes, of course I expect them to play it. And sometimes, they even play it TWICE because they have to start over. Really?? Is that even necessary????)
Truthfully, I don’t even know if he’s looking at me. It seems like he might be, but I don’t know. I’ve never asked! So, I go about the business of singing and dancing along because really, what am I going to do, just stand there?!?
Then there’s later in the show, when “White Lines” comes on. Now this song has always been one of my favorites when they play it live. There’s just something about it, and that “something” is the hard-driving guitar. (and the guy playing it isn’t bad either…but that’s another story for another blog later in the month) In ANY case, over the past couple of years, and remarkably coinciding with the closer seating that Amanda and I have paid an outstanding amount of money to be in, the song has taken on a little different of a meaning.
Basically, it marks the point in the performance where I grow increasingly worried about how close my seats may or may not be to “the spit zone”. Several years back, I’d rock out with out much care. I’d see Simon spit the water up into the audience and think “eww” glad I’m not up there. Well, lately, I have been up there, and I gotta tell you – I am semi-convinced that sometimes – there’s been a little bit more “aim” placed on the spitting!
However, this most recent time at Agua Caliente, we were right there. I didn’t give that much of a thought until “White Lines” began. All of the sudden, I realized what was about to happen. I couldn’t stop the look of shock and horror that went across my face, and again, I happened to look Nick’s way. I didn’t even know he could still smile that wide….
Even so, I tried to brush the thought aside while in my head I was thinking “Did Nick seriously just nearly CACKLE onstage while looking my way? Nahhhh….Couldn’t be.” Instead, I lost myself in the song and in a particular fangirl moment involving a guitar player. Before I knew it, I was watching Simon head toward the drum riser to grab a bottle of water and take a drink. I knew what was coming, so I did what any sane person would have done and just looked down.
I felt the deluge hit the back of my head and run down my back as I winced and laughed. I mean, I didn’t see Simon spit, but he had to have aimed right for us. Come on now! I looked up, and Nick was laughing while looking right at the front. I laughed too, because it was FUNNY! I remember how horrified I was the first time – way back in Biloxi during the All You Need is Now tour, and how disgusted I was by the whole thing. I don’t know why, I don’t know how – but I don’t care so much anymore. After all, I’ve been “baptized” a few times now. The shock has worn off, but my reaction probably won’t change much. It’s still funny. And really weird. But whatever. It’s a thing, and while Amanda and I still hate it, I’ll admit I’m amused, and Nick’s reaction is priceless, whether or not he’s really looking my way or not.
All of this reminds me of a time not so long ago when Nick was missing from the shows. It’s true that MNDR did an outstanding job and musically, I didn’t notice much of a difference without Nick there. That said, to look up and see someone manning the keyboards during that time was just wrong – and I’m glad Nick is back touring with the band again. I can’t help but smile when I see his 10,000 watt grin. We don’t see it often enough.
Happy birthday, Nicholas. I hope you have a wonderful day, and I’ll see YOU in about a month!