Thanks so much to Janis from Texas for sending me these pictures she took at Willie Nelson’s New Year’s Eve concert last night at Moody Theater, in Austin. Wow! What a party! At the end of the show Willie started thanking everyone on the stage, and it took a long time, so many friends and family. What a great way to end one year and begin another one, with Willie Nelson music. Willie and band also played Friday night at the venue.
I listened from Colorado, where our family gathered this weekend to welcome nephew Austin back from year in Army in Korea. So I listened to the concert over a game of scrabble with my sister, then again later when Sirius/XM rebroadcast it. Both enjoyable, but nothing to compare with being there. On the upside, within minutes after the concert I was home in my pajamas already.
So, thank you, Willie Nelson & Family & Friends for a great show and Sirius Radio, for making the broadcast available, so us fans who couldn’t be there could hear that fantastic concert live, and then two more times. (The show will be re-broadcast again today; go to www.Sirius.com to find out how you can sign up and listen to the show. You’ll thank me later.) And thanks to Janis for the pictures.
Dallas Wayne did a great job, as usual, as the event’s host. I’ve watched Dallas and Jeremy Tepper and the Sirius/XM radio staff work those remote broadcasts, and there is so much going on behind the scenes to make it seamless to those of us listening. Good job, guys and gals.
Dallas interviewed Ray Price and Jamey Johnson, who was also at the show tonight. During course of show, he commented briefly about the memorial for Bee Spears held earlier in the day, saying how respectful and lighthearted and loving it was. Also, Dallas broke the news that Bill Mack the Satellite Cowboy will be returning to the Sirius/XM family, during the overnight. I’m hoping for the return of Willie Wednesday! I’d tune in during the middle of the night, to hear Willie call in and talk with Bill.
The radio broadcast started with Ray Price and the Cherokee Cowboys. Mr. Price, who will celebrate his 86th birthday next week, sounded great, and sang the songs that we all know and love, and it was beautiful. Then Lukas Nelson and the Promise the Real electrified the audience, opening with’Four Letter Word’, then played songs from albums and introduced some new tunes that I hope we get to hear on the band’s new album, when it comes out early this year.
Friday night’s show was the band’s first, without Bee Spears, but tonight was the first time for many to see the band without Bee there. And it must have been strange. Even listening over the radio, my breathe caught in my throat when Willie introduced the band, and Bee wasn’t there. The extra-musically talented Billy English played bass, and Micah Nelson played drums, along with Paul English. Bobby Nelson played piano, and of Willie did everything else.
The band entertained with the songs we love: Whiskey River; Still is Still Moving to Me; Ain’t It Funny How Time Slips Away; Crazy; Nightlife; Mama Don’t Let Your babies grow up to be Cowboys; Good Hearted Woman; Down Yonder, On the Road Again, Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground, Superman, Milk Cow Blues, Move It On Over, a beautiful gospel set, with ‘Will the Circle Be Unbroken’, ‘I’ll Fly Away’, and my favorite gospel tune, ‘Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die.” Willie Nelson’s fan club is making the concert available on a collectible USB drive; for information on how to purchase: www.WillieNelson.com.
Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real band stayed on stage after their set to play, and Lukas took the lead on ‘Flooding Down in Texas’. Willie invited Jamie Johnson, (who played at last night’s show, too), on stage to sing ‘Write Your Own Song’ with him, and it was such a beautiful rendition. Jamey sang another song, too, and it sounded like Lukas was playing with him (Wish I’d record together), and in one song Jamey added his own lyrics, “I’m bringing in 2012 with Willie Nelson and Billy Gibbons House Band”.
The show paused for the midnight hour, and Willie led everyone in auld lange syne. I couldn’t tell what was going on, just listening to the show, but it involved Texas Father Time (Texas has it’s own Father time, as it turns out), who according to Janis, came down from a giant skull that was hanging up on the ceiling, along with the balloon drop. On the radio we heard Willie say, “Father Time looks like Ben Dorsey”.
Today in Bobbie Nelson’s birthday, and Willie led the crowd in singing happy birthday to her.
At at the show’s end, Willie took several minutes to thank his band, and personally Billy English, he named everyone in Lukas’ band, Jamey Johnson, Kimmie Rhodes, Billy Gibbons, Amy Nelson, Susie Nelson, and others I can’t remember. And Willie wished us all Happy New Years, and thanked us fans all over the place, with, “We love every damn one of you.”
The band played a moving version of ‘Healing Hands of Time’, and it felt like this weekend’s concerts have helped start that process. Thank you, Willie Nelson and Family.