|Willie Nelson 6/14/13|
Nobody has clocked more stage time than Willie Nelson. He’s a prolific artist who has been on the road since the early 50s; written over 2500 songs; and has contributed more original music to the great American Songbook than any other artist to work the circuit. His weathered countenance and battered old guitar named Trigger, epitomize American music. He is a legend.
His performance at the Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion at Meadowbrook on June 14, 2013, was a huge success. It seems fitting that he would be performing during Laconia’s Bike Week, a time when bikers from around the country swarm en masse to the otherwise sedate area. Willie has always been popular with the bikers, but looking at the diversity of the crowd, his appeal extends to nearly all walks of life. Willie’s fans are a unique mixture of tattoos and leather, hippies and dreadlocks, farmers, country music fans, social activists, young people, old people, you name it. Based on the haze wafting over the crowd, there seemed to be a shared love of marijuana and music.
Willie has always been a philanthropist helping to raise money and awareness for many important causes, ranging from Farm Aid, animal cruelty, world peace, biodiesel, and Occupy Wall Street. Now 80 years old, this guitar slinging, ganja toking rugged old dog is gonna do what he is gonna do, and if you don’t like that, he says, “You can roll me up and smoke me when I die.”
There were no fancy light shows or props at this show, just a simple lone star Texas flag as his backdrop. He performed 30 songs during his 90 minute set. He opened with “Whiskey River” and from there moved through each song fluidly. His songs circled around love, heartache, and death in true cowboy fashion. It was a musical tour of his biggest hits, past and present.
Highlights from the Show:
The warm sweet tawny tone of Trigger on “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain,” along with Willie’s raspy baritone, was enough to make anyone fold. There was just the right amount of emotional tremble, arousing nostalgia.
“On the Road Again” was an upbeat cut time classic, laden with those unmistakable Willie chords and twangy vocals. Mickey Raphael chugging along on the harp gave it a choo-choo vibe.
“Nuages” had beautiful guitar work by Willie, piano work by Sister Bobbie, and harp work by Mickey - he made the harp sound like an accordion!
|Willie Nelson threw his red bandana in the crowd and put on a Boston cap!!|
He closed the show with some old-timey southern gospel songs, “Will the Circle be Unbroken,” and “I’ll Fly Away.” When he was finished he said, “I’ve got a new gospel song for ya, I hope you like it!” and played “Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die.” The crowd went ablaze! His final song of the night was, “I Saw the Light.” I love hearing those old gospel songs: you can hear the roots of real American music sprouting from them.
I remember when I was a little girl, I used to sit and study the album cover of his Greatest Hits (& Some That Will Be) album with oodles of fascination. It’s an iconic image of him smiling with his signature red braids. He seemed old and wise. I thought he was some sort of ginger Indian chief of the music world. On family drives through the White Mountains, it was Willie’s face I saw on the Old Man on the Mountain. Even now that the stones have fallen away from the rocky sculpture, it is still Willie’s face that I imagine there. A strange association? Maybe, but endearing nonetheless.
Whiskey River, Still is Still Moving Me, Beer For My Horses, Good Hearted Woman, Shoeshine Man, Funny How Time Slips Away, Crazy, Nightlife, Without A Song, Mama’s Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys, Angel Flying Too Close To The Ground, On The Road Again, Always On My Mind, Nuages, Jambalaya On The Bayou, Hey Good Lookin, Move It On Over, Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain, City Of New Orleans, To All The Girls I’ve Loved Before, Superman, You Don’t Think I’m Funny Anymore, Matchbox, Lets Face The Music And Dance, Georgia On A Fast Train, Georgia, Will The Circle Be Unbroken, I’ll Fly Away, Roll Me Up And Smoke Me When I Die, I Saw The Light.
Charlie Daniels was Willie’s opener, and he was incredible. Not only is he a fiddle master, he is also a guitar virtuoso! This was my first time seeing him, so I wasn’t totally sure what to expect. Of course he played what you would expect him to play, “Devil Went Down to Georgia,” and “Long Haired Country Boy,” but he also played some killer jazz songs. Yes jazz!!! For a while I thought I was at a Santana concert, like when Carlos goes all voodoo nuts on the guitar. Not to compare apple to oranges, I was just pleasantly surprised by Charlie’s musical capabilities in other genres. “Black Ice” was the song that turned me from a fan into a die hard. At one point Clay Cook from the Zac Brown Band joined him on stage with his guitar for “South Gonna Do it Again.” One of the most dramatic songs of this set was when Charlie belted out “How Great Thou Art.” Powerful is an understatement! I have always been partial to Elvis’s version, but still, it sent tingles down my spine.