Photo by Joey McLeister
by Jon Bream
Willie Nelson waltzed onstage at Mystic Lake Casino Friday night wearing a dark business suit and, of course, New Balance running shoes. (Willie wearing a suit makes about as much sense as Willie cutting his hair, which he did earlier this year. Btw, his hair is growing out and he was sporting two short braids now that the locks have reached his shoulders once again.)
He waved, then took off the suit jacket, revealing his black T-shirt, picked up his famous guitar Trigger and tore into “Whiskey River,” which has been the opening number for probably all 200 of his gigs in 2010.
Willie also was wearing a black cowboy hat, which he took off during a piano solo by his sister Bobbie. Then he switched to a bandana. Throughout the night, he’d toss his bandana to the crowd and put on another one or wear a cowboy hat tossed onstage (even if it was a cowgirl hat). He seemed to be in a good mood. He didn’t apologize for twice postponing this two-night stand. Actually, he didn’t talk much between songs, usually starting the next song while the sell-out crowd was still clapping for the previous one.
As I said in my review, Willie never explained why his longtime drummer Paul English (subject of “Me and Paul”) played on only one or two songs and his brother Billy English handled the snare drum the rest of the night (apparently Paul had a stroke a while back). Other than his sister Bobbie, Willie did not introduce the other musicians (bassist Bee Spears, harmonica ace Mickey Raphael) by name.
Willie’s wonderful guitar work on Friday (see the review for details) makes me want to return to Mystic Lake on Saturday night. Here’s hoping that he makes some changes in the set list. This is what he played on Friday: