Archive for the ‘black and white’ Category

Farm Aid 1997 (Lincoln, NE) (9/19/87)

Saturday, August 29th, 2015

by: L. Kent Wolgamott

Photos: Farm Aid III

On September 18, 1997, Memorial Stadium was full of fans. But not for football. The Huskers didn’t have a game on Sept. 19, 1987.

The stadium was packed for Farm Aid III, the biggest concert ever held in Nebraska and likely the largest single-day entertainment event in the state’s history.

Farm Aid III was a full day, starting at noon when Farm Aid founder Willie Nelson and his band Family launched into their trademark opener “Whiskey River” and ending 10 hours, 15 minutes later with Arlo Guthrie leading the day’s performers — and the crowd — through his father Woody’s “This Land is Your Land.”

In between, the concert featured the most impressive lineup to appear at any single Nebraska show before or since.

That lineup included Farm Aid leaders John Mellencamp and Neil Young; John Denver, whose band featured legendary guitarist James Burton; then newcomers Lyle Lovett, Vince Gill, Steve Earle and Dave Alvin; Kris Kristofferson, who reunited with Rita Coolidge; Bonnie Bramlett with her band Bandaloo Doctors; Steppenwolf; Joe Walsh; The Fabulous Thunderbirds at the peak of their fame; a by-satellite Grateful Dead; and a rare, perhaps only Nebraska appearance by Lou Reed, who has not played the state since.

Reed, who performed with Mellencamp’s band, rocked his Velvet Underground classic “Sweet Jane” and his only hit, “Walk on the Wild Side.” Unlike most of the day’s performers, the always difficult Reed wouldn’t talk to the media, saying he didn’t know anything about agriculture, except that he eats, and was at the show only because he’d been requested to perform. Asked for a comment for print, Reed sarcastically quipped “Power to the people,” something he’s never believed.

In contrast, most of the performers, such as farm-raised John Conlee, and actor hosts, such as Dennis Hopper and “Hill Street Blues” star Charles Haid, happily talked about Farm Aid, the need to save family farms and the music, which, far more than the talk, was the point of the day.

Of Farm Aid’s three board members — Nelson, Mellencamp and Young — Nelson made appearances throughout the day, and Young played a solo acoustic set, debuting “This Note’s for You,” his wry anti-corporate anthem that became an MTV hit.

Tim Kechely, now co-owner of Fuse Recording, spent his day at Farm Aid running backstage sound systems for Dietze Music, then going onto the stage and into the stadium to watch the show.

“One thing that stands out in my mind is the camaraderie between all the different musicians,” said Kechely. “There seemed to be a real unity going on, a real friendliness. They were really into being a part of it.”

That same sense of togetherness could be felt in the stadium as well, he said.

“You could see it in the audience, feel it in the audience,” Kechely said. “It was one of those things you walked away from and felt super good about. They (performers) weren’t out there to make their latest song a hit. They were there to try to make a difference, for something bigger. So was the audience.”

That’s essentially the same view Nelson had of the show.

“(Farm Aid III was) one of the strongest concerts I’ve ever taken part in, both musically and in the response from the audience and the whole state,“ he wrote in “Willie Nelson,” his 1988 autobiography.

Most of the crowd was made up of Nebraskans. But the 69,000 in attendance did not make a sellout. Officials had held back 2,000 tickets for day-of-show sales and all of them did not sell. Nonetheless, there has never been a bigger concert in Nebraska, nor is there likely to be any that come close to 70,000 people in the future.

In part, that is because stadium concerts are not so prevalent as they were two decades ago; Memorial Stadium, with its enclosures and sky boxes, isn’t exactly a prime concert venue, and Lincoln is far from the million-plus metro areas where stadium shows now take place.

In fact, Farm Aid III almost didn’t happen because of technical problems in using the stadium for a show, most prominently because, at that time, trucks could not be driven onto the field. So 60 volunteers had to help carry staging, lights and other production equipment from the trucks onto the artificial turf.

University officials, particularly then-football coach Tom Osborne, were also concerned that thousands of people walking on the field smoking and drinking would damage the turf, which was covered by an eighth-inch black mat during the concert. That proved to be a false fear.

Immediately after the show, Osborne thought he had found a number of cigarette burns at the north end of the field. They really were marks made to locate the stage that disappeared when it rained the day after the concert. The only damage to the field was in two spots, each 6 to 9 inches in diameter.

Farm Aid III was a moderate financial success, but did not measure up to the amount raised by its predecessors.

The 67,581 tickets sold — the remaining attendance included 600 volunteers, media, security and concert personnel — accounted for $1.35 million. That was the same amount as the concert’s production costs, meeting the goal of organizers.

About $1 million was raised from donations called in during the concert’s syndicated television broadcast that covered about 85 percent of the country. Television ad revenue was the day’s disappointment, bringing in only $200,000 rather than the $600,000 organizers estimated initially. Merchandise sales of $100,000, a donation of $200,000 from Nebraska Cares and other income brought the final total that went to farmers to $1.5 million to $1.7 million.

The first Farm Aid show, held in Chicago in 1985, raised about $5 million. Farm Aid II, held at a racetrack in Manor, Texas, had a net of well over $2 million.

Farm Aid, which Nelson repeatedly said he’d like to end in a few years if farmers got back on their feet, soldiers on. The 22nd Farm Aid concert is set for Saturday at Hersheypark Stadium in Hershey, Pa.

The sold-out show will draw 29,000 people, half of the number of Farm Aid III, to see a lineup that includes new Farm Aid board member Dave Matthews and Mellencamp, Young and Nelson.

Memorial Stadium will be packed on Saturday, too. This time the Huskers are playing. No guitars, drum kits and amps will be found inside, unlike a quarter-century ago.

Friday, August 28th, 2015

Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings

Monday, August 24th, 2015


Sunday, August 23rd, 2015


Phil Weisman sent this photo.

Willie Nelson for John Varvatos

Friday, August 21st, 2015

Willie Nelson in black and white, by Danny Clinch

by:  Chris Jordan

Who’s that handsome man in the aviator shades and the John Varvatos jacket?

Why, it’s Willie Nelson, sporting a new look thanks to the eye of Toms River photographer/filmmaker Danny Clinch.

Nelson, 80, and sons Lukas and Micah were photographed and filmed for a John Varvatos ad campaign in Des Moines by Clinch during the summer.

The campaign, called Willie Nelson and Sons, highlights the Varvatos fall and winter line. Full-page ads showing Nelson as photographed by Clinch have appeared this fall in magazines like Vanity Fair and Vogue.

“We went out to Des Moines, and we caught him on the road,” Clinch said. “The tour bus pulled up in front of the location we were shooting at, and there’s an Indian painted on the side of the bus, and the Red Headed Stranger comes out. I think the beauty for me was to capture him with his boys.”

The fashion campaign’s short film, available at, is directed by Clinch and features the three Nelsons performing “Still is Still Moving to Me.”

“Willie doesn’t have to do anything he doesn’t want to do, and he loved the idea about him and his family,” Clinch said. “He’s about family and loyalty to the people of his inner circle. When we pitched the idea about his sons, he was pretty psyched.”

Clinch, an acclaimed rock photographer who has worked with numerous celebrities and musicians, including Bruce Springsteen, has done more than a dozen Varvatos campaigns, featuring Iggy Pop, Alice Cooper, Jimmy Page and Gary Clark Jr., the Roots, Cheap Trick and more.

Nelson, whose usual fashion attire includes a bandana and denim, also used one of Clinch Varvatos photos for the cover of his new album, “To All the Girls…”

“Willie was really into the photos we took, and he liked the way he looked,” Clinch said.

Tuesday, August 18th, 2015


Sunday, August 16th, 2015


Thursday, August 13th, 2015

Photos from Virgin Airline’s DFW Launch Party with Richard Branson and Willie Nelson.

 By John Pozadzides. (” Use freely but give attribution to John P. and link to Oh, and feel free to follow me on Twitter @Johnpoz for all my updates.”)

Willie Nelson: The Traveling Road Show (Country Song Roundup May 1976)

Thursday, August 13th, 2015

Willie Nelson, the Traveling Road Show
Country Song Roundup
by Susan Scott
May 1976

NASHVILLE, TENN. —  The crowd inside Municipal Auditorium consisted of disc jockey convention and Opry birthday celebration die-hards who had waded through a week of parties and meetings listening to the best the Country music industry had to offer.

The last event on the official schedule was the Columbia Records show and it had been reported all week that Willing Nelson would be on hand to close the show.  Many in the crowd talked in anticipation of seeing the undisputed king of progressive country.  After all, he had arrived at the convention with his single, “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain,” and his album, “Red Headed Stranger” riding in the number one position on the trade publication music charts.

Some 7,000 industry folks applauded enthusiastically as the bluejeaned, tennis-shoed, bandana’d perormer stepped to the microphone.  Forty-five minutes later, most of the audience was on its feet, clapping their hands as Nelson swung into a series of old time religious numbers –“Will the Circle Be Unbroken,” “Amazing Grace” and “When the Roll is Called Up Yonder.”

During the last number, other entertainers began to appear on stage adding harmony support — David Allen Coe, Larry Gatlin, the brilliant Shel Silverstein and RCA’s Gary Stewart.  The usually reserved, never-to-be-awed crowd of music industry representatives went wild.

Outside in the hall the Municipal Auditorium staff drifted toward the doors commenting on all the commotion coming from inside.  “Even the big rock groups don’t get that kind of reception,” commented one employee, who also noted he’d seen them all in the past 15 years he’d worked at the auditorium.

Backstage after the third or fourth encore (it may have been more because in the excitement of the moment I had last count) people congratulated Nelson on is triumphs of the week.  “The show was absolutely fantastic,” commented old Nelson friends.  Willie has been in the music industry all of his life and accumulated quite a backlog of admirers through the years,.  He has long been one of Nashville’s legendary songwriters.  It was not until recently that his performing ability has been spotlighted on a national level, though he has been entertaining in honky tonks, used car lots, and any other place he might be asked to perform.

“We’ll be in Atlanta next week for three days,” he said to me.  “Come on down and spend some time with us and we’ll talk.  I promised Tubb I’d do his show at the Record Shop after the Opry and I have to run, but please come to Atlanta if you can.”

With that his lips cured into a warm, benevolent smile, he squeezed my hand and strolled into waiting crowds signing autographs as he made his way toward his limousine.

There wasn’t any real reason I couldn’t run down to Atlanta for a night to finish the rest of the interview.  So I packed an extra tee-shirt, some make up and headed for the Great Southeast Music Hall for the Wednesday night performance.  Little did I realize that within 24 hours I would be caught up by the Willie Nelson and Family and that instead of one night in Atlanta I’d be gone for two weeks attending concerts in Houston, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

ATLANTA, GA. — Paul English sat on the bed in Willie’s three-room hotel suite with piles of paper and an opened brief case surrounding him.  “Willie will be here shortly,” he said.   He’s out getting some pictures taken this afternoon.  Are you settled in your room all right?  have you been taken care of properly?”  His considerate inquiries impressed.  I was to find in the course of the next two weeks that consideration is one of the most outstanding and consistent traits of Willie Nelson and his road show Family — Bobbie Nelson, Jody Payne, Mickey Raphael, Bee Spears, Rex Ludwick, Kenneth waits, Darrell Wayne English, Pat and Nel Reshen and Paul.

Paul English has been with Willie off and on as a drummer since 1954.  “We were in Ft. Worth, Texas, and Willie was doing a radio show called Western Express.  He needed a drummer and he called me to see if I knew anybody.  I told him I could drum for him.”

“I got the job.  I debuted that day with a spare drum and brush.  The only thing I had neglected to tell Willie was that I had never played a drum before.  I had musical training in high school, so I figured I could play the drums just like the trumpet,” he said.

A delightfully sincere individual with a heart of gold, but who really does look like a mind’s image of the devil, English serves as an extension of Willie.  He’s more than just a right arm and there appears to be no one more important to Willie than Paul and vice versa.

“When I lost my wife of 14 years,” English said, “Willie stayed by me. He told me we wouldn’t go back to work until I was ready.  He stayed off the road for three months and helped me get through some of the pain of losing her.

“He wrote a song for me about her.  It’s called, “I Still Can’t Believe That You’re Gone.’ and it came out on the Atlantic ‘Phases and Stages’ album.  I guess it means about as much to me as anything in this world.

“There is a love between us that you get after seeing a lot of life together.  He wrote a song, ‘Me and Paul,’ about our relationship.  We’ve been through a lot of things, covered a lot of ground — we’re more than just friends.”

And then Willie Nelson, red bandana tied around his forehead to keep his long sun-reddened brown hair from falling into his eyes, returned from his picture taking excursion.

“Hey, Susie, glad you could make it,” he said as he leaned over gently, kissed me on the cheek and squeezed my hand in soft salutation.  these are natural gestures for Willie and other Family members.  Paul doesn’t shake hands very often, he hugs everybody.

At the concert that night the backstage area was a conglomeration of Family members, press people and other guests.  Also on the bill with Willie was Tracey Nelson (no relation), Linda Ronstadt had come to the club after her performance at another hall across town.

The crowd of Nelsonite fans at the second show went into a frenzy as the three singers swung into the old time gospel standards.  The show went into th ewee hours of the morning and it was close to 3:30 a.m. before everybody reached the hotel and congregated in Willie’s suite.

Willie was the center of attention as he sat on the couch and talked about music and life to other writers that had wandered in.  “Some say I’m an outlaw and play progressive country.  Progressive is more a way of thinking and the way others interpret your music.  It’s not how you look or what you do off stage.

“In conventional Country music some things are done and some are not and I never really believed in following all of the conventions.  I was doing things that were foreign to a lot of people in Nashville.  They’d been doing things their way a long time and it was working so resistance was understandable.  We just reached a stand off and that’s about the time I went to Austin.

By 5:30 a.m. thee were only a few people left in the suite.  Willie, who had wandered to another room, called out to everyone that was left.  “Come here a minute everybody!”

The group gravitated toward the Texan.  He was standing in front of a large picture window with the drapes drawn to their full recoil.  Shades of gray, pink, violet and orange lighted the skyline.  He leaned intently; his face pressed against the window.  “Look at that,” he said almost in a whisper.  “The moon is sitting there on that mountain, the stars are shining like they just came out and the sun’s going to be here any minute.  There’s something about morning, its…” his voice trailed into a mumble and nobody quite got the last of his thoughts.  He smiled as he watched the sun break over a distant hill.  the group stood motionless and wordless, wrapped in the warmth of a Willie Nelson sunrise.  there was an eerie feeling that it was all happening just for him that morning.

Don’t miss our next issue when Willie and the troupe move on to conquer Houston, Texas, Los Angeles and San Francisco!

Tuesday, August 11th, 2015

Willie Nelson & Family @ Outside Lands, Day 3 (San Francisco, Calif., Aug. 11, 2013)

David Hall

Saturday, August 8th, 2015


Thursday, August 6th, 2015


Tuesday, August 4th, 2015


Sunday, August 2nd, 2015


Willie Nelson, Ray Charles, “Mountain Dew”

Wednesday, July 29th, 2015