Willie Nelson & Family in Washington (review)

www.inlander.com
by: Dan Nailen

At his sold-out show Tuesday at Northern Quest Resort and Casino, the 84-year-old country legend ran through upward of 30 songs, or at least pieces of 30 songs, over the course of about 75 minutes. Along the way, he and his Family Band paid homage to Hank Williams, nodded to departed peers like Merle Haggard and friends like Tom T. Hall, and showcased why Nelson remains an American treasure after decades in the spotlight.

Nelson took the stage in his customary cowboy hat, bandana and long braids in his grey hair, sporting a “Craft Cannabis” T-shirt and a wide grin as he waved at the audience. He then launched into his customary show opener, “Whiskey River,” before segueing into “Still is Still Moving to Me,” a song that featured his first extended solo on his trusty acoustic guitar, Trigger.

One of the best features of Tuesday’s show was the camera’s near-constant focus on Trigger and Nelson’s hands, projecting his guitar work on the large screens on either side of the stage. Even at 84, his rapid-fire picking and strumming is something to behold, and watching him find subtle new approaches to classic old songs was a treat. Nelson’s not a jukebox; he and his band don’t regurgitate the hits as close to their recorded forms as possible. Rather, he’s a lot like Bob Dylan, constantly tweaking his own tunes to find new ways to express himself, and to keep his band on its toes.

Read entire review here.

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