Thursday, February 15, 2007

Willie Nelson

Judy and I went to Galveston to see Willie Nelson in concert last night. As you may be aware, he's been around for a while. Seventy-three years, in fact. He'll be 74 next month. All he has to do to get a standing ovation in Texas is walk out on the stage.

He seems to be in great physical condition, his voice is still strong, and he still has the longest braid around. He did a full two-hour show without taking a break. There's no patter, just Willie playing and singing (with that family band back-up, of course).

His playing is outstanding. His acoustic guitar looks as if it might have come over on the Mayflower, and he picks the heck out of it. He uses nylon strings, and the guitar is amped. There's some great guitar work in any Willie Nelson concert. I first saw him about 30 years ago, and the guitar appears to be the same one he was using then.

Some of the songs he did were old ones, like "Blue Eyes Cryin' in the Rain" and "Whiskey River." Some were pop standards like "Stardust" and "Georgia on my Mind." Some seemed tossed off, and some were knockouts. He did a couple from his new Songbird CD, and three or four from a CD to be released in July or August. At the end of the show when he did "I Saw the Light," the audience was up on its feet, singing and shouting along.

Nelson obviously loves performing, and he's so good at it, so confident, that he might just go on forever. I for one hope he does.

15 comments:

Patrick Shawn Bagley said...

Ya gotta love Willie.

Bill Crider said...

A Texas icon, for sure.

Patrick Shawn Bagley said...

He was/is a big influence on three of my favorite country performers: Robert Earl Keen, Jerry Jeff Walker and Pat Green (before Pat "went Nashville," that is).

Bill Crider said...

Those are some other great Texas guys. Keen's "The Road Goes on Forever" is a noir novel in a song, one of the greats.

Patti said...

I hear Judy Collins at the Hotel Carlyle in New York is amazing too. They knew how to make them back then.

Bill Crider said...

I saw Judy Collins long, long ago. She was great then, and I'll bet she's great now.

Benjamin Potter said...

While I'm more a fan of Willie's writing abilities than his singing (I love some of his lyrics when others sing them--that's a personal taste) I sometimes grew offense at the Missourian who liked to quip: "Willie had to retire . . . they took his adenoids out."

Keep on writing great lyrics, Willie.

Cap'n Bob Napier said...

I think he used his guitar for a bong back in the seventies, the's why it looks so beat up.

Linda Lee said...

Thanks for your review of Willie's show. It must have been a beautiful place to see him in, too. I got a couple "Concert Calls" from friends who were there.

He's coming to Colo next month with Ray Price and Merle Haggard, and I'm looking forward to seeing him again.

Linda
www.stillisstillmoving.com

Jeff Meyerson said...

Bill, it sounds very similar to the concert we saw last summer at Jones Beach.

And he got the ovation in New York too.

Graham said...

Someday I'm going to see him at the annual 4th of July picnic at Billy Bob's here in Fort Worth.

I can remember my dad listening to "Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain" back in the 70s.

Bill Crider said...

Linda, Joe Lansdale's daughter, Kasey, is opening for Ray Price tomorrow night and Saturday night.

Glad to hear, Jeff, that Willie got the standing O in NY as well.

Patrick Shawn Bagley said...

Graham,

There is a CD of Willie in the "Live at Billy Bob's Texas" series. Good stuff.

Anonymous said...

I saw Willie at Wembley in January. He is great; doesn't have to hide behind excessive volume and the Family band know how to accompany (back) a singer. Comments Willie's made over the years ring so true such as, "It starts with a singer and one instrument..", "I figure (about old songs) if it was good then, it's good now". The man is a treasure to the Texas, USA and the world: Bin Bush and make Willie President. Rob.

Bill Crider said...

Right on, Rob!