Archive for the ‘Photographs’ Category
photos: Gary Fountain
by: Craig Hlavaty
Willie Nelson made his semi-annual stop into Houston on Tuesday night, logging a boisterous set at the Stafford Centre with spunky opener Alyssa Bagley on hand for support. Fans packed the sold-out southwest side venue to see the 82-year-old American icon, but he brought along much more.
On Tuesday night devotees got an additional treat with Nelson’s rocker son Lukas Nelson at his left side on electric guitar. The younger Nelson has been busy in 2015 touring with another icon, Neil Young, in support of the album they recorded together, “The Monsanto Years,” with his own band Promise of the Real. Lukas’ voice is eerily similar his pop’s own in the early ‘70s. They also look alike too, lanky and wooly.
The merch table was busy selling Willie-branded red bandanas, Willie dolls (buyers had to pledge an oath to party with the doll, according to one happy customer), and a deluxe Willie for President in 2016 poster.
Just before 9 p.m. Nelson and his band arrived onstage to thunderous applause and a sea of smartphones, opening (naturally) with “Whiskey River” behind the customary Texas flag, framing Nelson and the players in red, white, and blue light.
A highlight among Nelson’s tried and true standards was Lukas’ slow-burn take on Stevie Ray Vaughan’s “Texas Flood,” with his dad and harmonica hero Mickey Raphael taking turns interpreting SRV’s licks.
The elder Nelson was really putting in work with his trusty guitar steed Trigger, keeping up with Lukas’ electric most of the time. Lukas’ touch on his dad’s run of Hank Williams Sr. covers kept the mood rollicking.
Nelson also brought out 1986’s prescient “Living in the Promiseland” for a spin towards the end of the evening. It comes off the album “The Promiseland” from Nelson’s run of unsung mid-‘80s output.
He performed the song last week in the nation’s capital with an expanded band at a ceremony honoring him as the 2015 recipient of the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. Previous honorees include the likes of Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder, Sir Paul McCartney, and Billy Joel.
The song is an ode to immigrants and refugees and awfully timely at this point in American history it seems as sides in the Syrian refugee fight are picked.
As always, Nelson gives us a little sugar with the medicine and the song was followed his modern gospel cut “Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die” and Hank Sr.’s timeless “”I Saw the Light.”
If one needs something to be thankful for in Texas this holiday season, make it Willie Nelson.
photo: Gary Fountain
Read the article and see more photos from Gary Fountain here.
In 2008, when Willie Nelson and Family went to Europe, Willie Nelson visited an art museum. Lana Nelson reported about his visit on
Dad was spotted right away in the museum, cameras came out and people wanted their photo with Willie, But once inside the heart of the museum, folks were very respectful of his space.
One man quietly walked up with a European accent and said, “Of all the wonderful treasures here today, you are the most unexpected. Welcome to Paris.”