I finally did it; I made it out to my first Willie Nelson concert. Having wanted to go for many years, it actually happened! Here on a cool summer evening at Marymoor Park in Redmond, Washington, Willie and his band had the crowd on their feet as they kicked off a melody of country classics.
At the age of 85 years young, Willie took the stage with his band and knocked out one song after another, kind of like a road trip down memory lane. Opening with “Whisky River” and proceeding to play a variety of fan favorites and sing songs in tribute of many of his legendary friends.
Willie played a tribute to Waylon Jennings with a couple tunes, “Good Hearted Woman” and “Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys”. Willie then sang his classic song “Crazy” to the delight of many going straight into “Night Life” with a solid guitar jam on his ol’ Martin N-20 “Trigger”.
Willie then got everyone on their feet with “If You’ve Got The Money Honey I’ve Got The Time” and then another tribute to Merle Haggard singing “ It’s All Going To Pot”. Willie performed another cover from Tom T Hall, singing his tune “Shoeshine Man” followed with “Georgia On My Mind” and then Billy Joe Shaver’s “Georgia On A Fast Train”.
The song cavalcade continued with “Jambalaya” and then into “Move It On Over” with another outstanding jam. Then rousing renditions of “Still Not Dead Again Today” and right into “Roll Me Up And Smoke Me When I Die”. Throughout the evening Willie had the fans singing-a-long to many of the tunes.
Willie’s set closed out in a spiritual mood with Allison Krauss and Union Station joining in on “Will The Circle Be Unbroken”. At the conclusion of the show, Willie threw out a variety of hats and bandanas in to the crowd and blew kisses to his adoring fans as he left the stage.
Opening the night was Allison Krauss and Union Station. Now the last time I saw Allison was many, many years ago at The Ryman in Nashville during a Grand Ole Opry show. Now when you think of some of the great voices in country and bluegrass music, Allison Krauss is at the top of the list.
Playing of variety of songs from her catalog, she also featured several wonderful covers and spirituals. Her band included members of The Cox Family, Sidney Cox on Dobro and Guitars and Suzanne Cox on Vocals. Behind the drum kit was Jay Bellarose who I’ve seen several times with T Bone Burnett at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass. Rounding out the band was long time Union Station Bassist Barry Bales, Matt Rollings on Piano, Bobby Terry on Banjo and Guitars, and James Mitchell on Electric Guitar.
Allison Krauss had everyone in the crowd listening intently as her angelic voice enveloped the Marymoor Park natural amphitheater amongst the tall trees. Frankly, during the traditional gospel tunes, you felt like you were transported to a revival in the Smokey Mountains, it was pretty moving to say the least.