Thursday, May 24, 2012


photo credit: Maria Ives 
I reviewed this show already for my day job at CBS Local, but I wanted to share a more personal version here.

Willie Nelson is timeless.  I rated him as one of the best artists of the '00s a few years ago. That's actually one of my only issues with seeing Willie live:  he mostly ignores his recent material.  I guess that some of his albums are so stylized it would be tough to reproduce, like 2009's collaboration with Asleep At The Wheel, Willie & The Wheel. But last year's Country Music was one of my favorites of the year, and I think he could have definitely played some of those songs. He did play two songs from the past few years, both songs I really like: "Superman" and "Beer For My Horses" (the latter written by Toby Keith).  I was glad that he played some stuff from his new album Heroes (I'll review that soon as well, hopefully). "Roll Me Up" was a lot of fun: the studio version features Snoop Dogg, Kris Kristofferson and Jamey Johnson, but it was just as much fun solo. He also played his version of "A Horse Called Music" from the new album (a song he's recorded before). The version on the new album features the great Merle Haggard, but it was fine without him.

I did wish that Willie's son, Lukas Nelson, was there though:  he's such an important part of the new album, I figured they might have done more new songs if was there. I would have loved to hear their cover of Pearl Jam's "Just Breathe" (my former colleagues at SiriusXM shot a cool video of Willie and Lukas performing the song).

Of course, none of this is to say that the old songs weren't amazing.  Willie tends to barrel through his old songs in concert, and I kind of wish he'd slow down a bit.  But still, he has a lot of songs to play.  I'll never get tired of seeing Willie perform "Still Is Still Moving To Me," "Me and Paul," "On The Road Again," Crazy," "Funny How Time Slips Away" and "Always On My Mind." I wonder if *he* gets tired of them. He sure didn't look tired of them at this show.  And his guitar playing is awesome.  He is such a unique guitarist, I love listening to him play. His band, of course, was incredible: sister Bobbie Nelson plays piano, Mickey Raphael plays harmonica, and there's a bass player and a drummer  who plays a single snare.

I'm so glad that Willie is still touring, and if you have the chance, do yourself a favor and catch him in concert.  He's not just an American treasure, he's also gives everyone a damn good time.

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