Willie Nelson bassist Kevin Smith shares his view from the stage.
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This might be the best Willie Nelson & Family Concert I have ever seen. I know, I know, I say that every time I am lucky enough to get to see my favorite band, but last night in Vegas was remarkable.
This was the band’s first show back after an accident last month involving one of the band’s tour busses, which seriously injured band and crew members. Initial reports were so frightening, but, fortunately, the injuries, while painful and serious, were not life threatening. So thank God, or whomever you thank when you are feeling gratitude, give thanks that everyone survived the accident, has been released from the hospital, and after a short recovery period, have all been cleared by doctors to go back on the road! Great news for us fans. Every body was happy to see the crew and band on the stage, doing what they usually do.
And last night’s show at the Golden Nugget Casino in Las Vegas, was their first show back after the accident. The show marked the return of Mickey Raphael, as well, who had taken a short break from the road for personal reasons, and returned last night. It was touching, watching the band come on stage for the show, hugging, greeting each other. I mean, they always get along, I’m just sentimental, but gosh darn it, the Fam-Damily is back, and it felt right, that’s all
The show was so much fun. Willie was on fire, he was amazing, his guitar playing was amazing, so fresh and so fast, it seemed like the band had to scramble to keep up with him on the fast tunes. But then he spent so much time on the slow tunes, the ballads, all our favors, stretching them out, it was like hearing them for the first time again. Other times, he was playing was so sparse and the guitar playing took a back seat to his voice. He puts on such an amazing show, and every one is different.
And it was the kind of night where he would do things like, sometimes he says, “big finish”, and the band knows, I guess, to wrap up the song. But last night a couple times he said, ‘Big Finish”, and then he would wrap around into the song again, one more time. It was so much fun to see how he keeps the band on their toes. He makes it fresh for himself, and that keeps it fresh for the band. Last night fans shouted out requests, and he played them. Someone wanted to hear “Just Breathe”, so he called Lukas up and said he had a request. Someone asked for ‘It’s not supposed to be that way,’ and he said, “Okay, I’ll try to remember the words, and do that later.” Then, he sang it later, and said, “I think I got most of it right.” He really is the band leader on stage and it’s so interesting to watch the ways he communicates with everyone.
Willie spent all night acknowledging the crowd who were crazy about him. “I hear you! I do!” I love when he says that. The theater only holds a thousand people, and that is a cozy space. Willie waved and interacted with the fans like he always does, and it was pretty much a love fest. He took a note from a woman who came up, he bent over and talked to someone in the front row, he played requests that fans shouted out from the audience.
Willie tossed a lot of bandannas, these girls caught a couple. Everyone looks good in a Willie Nelson bandanna, and you can’t wear one and not smile. It’s like bandanna magic, or something. I’ve seen it hundreds, or lots of times.
It was a loud crowd. They mostly sat throughout the show, which is troubling for those of us who like to stand for the entire show, but maybe it’s a casino thing, so I tied myself to my chair, mostly. (I mean, how can you sit through On The Road Again? Right?)
It was so great to see Paul English, who’s toe (foot?) was injured in the bus accident, and treated in a local hospital. He walked out with assistance, but it was amazing he was able to play at all after the recent accident. He played the drums, moved back and forth between the snare and percussion, with Micah. The man is a rock star.
After the show, Willie traversed the stage several times, back and forth, signing, shaking hands. He was out there a long time, then Bobby stayed and signed, and Lukas, who always gathers a gorgeous group of young women, and several drunk men fans.
Annie waited off stage with a jacket for Willie to put on after the show, keeping her man warm. That’s sweet.
by: Braley Dodson
Singer, songwriter and actor Willie Nelson is coming back to the Corn Palace.
It’s believed to be the second-ever Mitchell show for the 80-year-old performer. The concert, set for 7 p.m. Thursday, has sold about 1,850 of 2,500 available tickets. Tickets start at $47.50 and are available at the Corn Palace box office.
Nelson’s previous concert at the Corn Palace, which sold out, occurred during the Corn Palace Festival in 2003.
Nelson has released close to 300 albums. He is an original organizer of Farm Aid, a nonprofit organization committed to assisting family farms. The bandana-wearing star is considered a country music rebel and has performed with artists such as country star Toby Keith and rapper Snoop Dogg. Nelson’s biggest hits include “Crazy,” “On the Road Again” and “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain.”
Schilling said Nelson’s first show at the Corn Palace produced a sellout and a learning experience.
“It made us look at things differently,” Schilling said.
Afterward, modifications were made for future shows. Some of the lasting impacts of the 2003 concert are the use of large screens during festival performances, changes in the handicap seating area and a change in the seating plan that eliminated seats on the floor, added seats in other areas and led to a net loss of about 20 seats.
“Those weren’t good seats, anyway,” Schilling said.
The concert is expected to last more than two hours, while other headliners usually perform for 75-90 minutes. Nelson’s daughter, with the Paula Nelson Band, will open the show.
The concert is part of an effort to bring more acts to the Corn Palace. Schilling said there was a desire for Nelson to perform that, coupled with him touring in the area, birthed the concert. Earlier this week, he played in Iowa, and he is scheduled to perform in Minnesota on Friday and Saturday.
Schilling sees the concert as a chance for those who missed Nelson the first time he performed at the Corn Palace to see him.
“Willie is just one of those legends,” Schilling said. “Look for a great show.”
Thanks to Buddy Prewitt, for sharing this great photo that Kevin Smith took.
“Willie played this song for me on his bus a couple of months ago before a concert in Wichita Falls, Texas. It’s one of my favorite of all his recordings, and I love them all. Willie and Merle singing together… does it get any better than this?” — Ruth Buzzi
Willie Nelson fan and Laugh-In star Ruth Buzzi stopped by Willie Nelson’s bus before the show in Wichita Falls, Texas, last October.
She stopped by the crew bus too and made some fans happy. “I asked her to hit me with her purse and she did.” Budrock Prewitt, Willie Nelson’s Lighting Director Ruth is very active on Twitter — you can follow her at @Ruth_A_Buzzi. She has a very entertaining youtube channel, too; it’s like a variety tv show. She posts videos, and comments on them — like this NYE show with Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra: “I guess as long as there’s an Internet this’ll come back every New Year’s Eve. That’s alright with me…nobody had more fun that night than I… and the memories we made together will last my whole lifetime. Rest in peace, my dear friends, Frank and Dean.” This is her youtube channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/RuthBuzzi1
She stopped by the crew bus too and made some fans happy.
“I asked her to hit me with her purse and she did.” Budrock Prewitt, Willie Nelson’s Lighting Director
Ruth is very active on Twitter — you can follow her at @Ruth_A_Buzzi.
She has a very entertaining youtube channel, too; it’s like a variety tv show. She posts videos, and comments on them — like this NYE show with Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra:
“I guess as long as there’s an Internet this’ll come back every New Year’s Eve. That’s alright with me…nobody had more fun that night than I… and the memories we made together will last my whole lifetime. Rest in peace, my dear friends, Frank and Dean.”
This is her youtube channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/RuthBuzzi1
Kevin Smith, Albert Besteiro
The best thing to happen to country music since Hank Williams was — and is — no doubt Willie Nelson. And now Epiphone is along for the ride, too.
Check out the cool photo of Nelson bassist Kevin Smith and pal Albert Besteiro from Del Castillo with their Epiphone Jack Casady basses! The best bass ever? That’s what the pro’s say. From Hot Tuna to Paul McCartney to the Stone Roses, the Epiphone Jack Casady is the axe for the serious bassist.
But if you’re not sure if the rock and roll life is for you, read Willie’s new memoir, Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die, for sage advice on jams, jokes, and (music) joints.