Lukas Nelson and the Promise of the Real, at the Verve, Terre Haute (2/3/2010)
by Reggie Edwards

People packed the Verve Wednesday night as Lukas Nelson, son of country music star Willie Nelson, and the Promise of the Real returned to Terre Haute for the first time since October.

“He loves playing here,” Verve owner Connie Wrin said. “They are on the road all the time and this place and a place in Colorado are their favorite places to play.”

Wrin said Nelson brings in a crowd much larger than the average Wednesday night.

“Wednesdays are usually slow, but Lukas brings in a great crowd,” she said.

Nelson was scheduled to play two shows–one Wednesday and another Thursday.

“Last time he played one show, but he came back the next night and jammed with the band that was playing all night,” Wrin said.

Caleb Taylor, a Terre Haute resident, attended when Nelson played in October and jumped at the chance to see Nelson play again.

“I came last time, and my friends told me Lukas Nelson was back again, so I came tonight,” he said.

Taylor said he could not decide whether Nelson’s performance Wednesday was better than the show in October.

“You cannot compare tonight’s performance to last time,” he said. “It is two completely different experiences, and they are both great.”

Nelson played two sets Wednesday night, which included songs from each of his albums as well as covers of many popular songs, including “Get Back” and “A Day in the Life” by The Beatles and “Down By the River” by Neil Young.

During breaks between sets, Nelson said he has been traveling and playing music without much of a break since he last visited Terre Haute.

“We play about 15 to 20 shows a month,” he said. “We plan on flying down to Austin, Texas to record in the studio with T-Bone Burnett right after this.”

T-Bone Burnett is a record producer who has won multiple Grammys and has worked with Robert Plant, Elvis Costello, Counting Crows, Roy Orbison, among other artists.

Nelson said life on the road varies from day to day.

“We get up, sometimes at 4 p.m., and just hang out and socialize,” he said. “Sometimes we drink, depending on what we are doing.”

Tato Melgar, Promise of the Real’s percussionist said he usually gets up earlier, compared to the others.

Nelson said the number of shows they play each day often depends on their moods.

“Sometimes we play at one bar, then stop at the next one and have a few drinks,” he said. “It depends on how we feel. If the band is a little lax, sometimes I’ll get up and play with them.”

Nelson, whose show consists of a variety of rock ‘n’ roll, blues and country, said it is difficult to describe his musical style.

“That’s a tough one, but I’d say it is rock ‘n’ roll,” he said.

After his second set, as things were winding down, Nelson talked with the crowd, taking pictures and signing autographs for fans.

“This time was just as fun as the last,” he said.

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