Reason(s) for Willie Nelson’s cancelled show in Kenansville, North Carolina
By Lindell Kay

 KENANSVILLE — Pain in Willie Nelson’s left hand — not moonshine in a jar — caused the cancellation of his Duplin County show Thursday night, according to the singer-songwriter’s camp.

His concert was canceled 15 minutes past its scheduled start, according to concertgoers. His son posted a notice on Nelson’s Web site that the Texas musician’s hand hurt too badly to play. The right-handed guitar-picker had carpal tunnel surgery on his left hand in 2004.  Nelson publicist Elaine Schock said Nelson’s Web site’s explanation as to why the concert was canceled was the truth.

But others wondered if the no-show was due instead to the presence of ALE agents.

After allegedly smelling marijuana wafting from the band’s concert van parked outside the Kenansville venue, agents with N.C. Alcohol Law Enforcement asked members to hand over the weed. Which they did with no problems, said Ted Carlton, special agent in charge of A.L.E.’s District III.

Longtime Nelson bass player Dan Edward “Bee” Spears, 60, Franklin, Tenn., and five others were charged with possession of non-tax-paid alcohol, Carlton said. Two of the six were also charged with marijuana possession. A court appearance is required for the charges.

The Grammy-award winning music legend Nelson was not present when the band members were charged. The 76-year-old strummer had yet to arrive at the Duplin County Events Center on Fairgrounds Drive.

Many in attendance at the sold-out show said they felt the concert was cancelled because of the band members’ bust before they were due to take the stage.

“They could have waited until after the show,” said Jacksonville resident Bertie Brown.

Brown who traveled an hour Thursday to see the show with her 91-year-old mother-in-law said she was “very disappointed” the show was cancelled.

Her mother-in-law had “never seen Willie and we were really looking forward to it,” Brown said, adding that she has seen Nelson in concert before and was really impressed with his performance.

Brown said she arrived at 6:45 p.m. with the show scheduled to begin at 7:30.

Carlton said agents finished citing the last band member at 7:30 and, as far as he knew, the show was still a go at that time.

At 7:45 p.m., roadies began removing sound equipment from the stage, Brown said.

“At around 8 a woman announced that Willie was ill and couldn’t be there,” she said. “The woman said to ask the box office for a refund.”

But the box office was closed, several people in attendance said.

Brown said Ticketmaster has agreed to refund her money. The ticket-selling service will refund anyone’s money that used the service to get tickets for the show, according to the company’s Web site.

Nelson will try to finish the tour in Rome, Ga., and then Asheville before returning to Texas, the Web site states.

Leave a Reply