The Last of a Breed (Las Vegas, Nevada) March 10, 2007

Thanks to Vegas Billy, who posted this great review as a comment.  Hope ya don’t mind me putting it up here, Billy. 

That’s what the concert was billed starring Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Ray Price and Asleep at the Wheel. The venue was held at the Aladdin Hotel Casino with a 7000 seat Theatre of Performing Arts.  I was all excited with good tickets in the front row of the mezzanine section, (first tier up from the main floor) Seats were 250.00 down front, mine was about $75.00.

Las Vegas was jammed with roughly a million people who had arrived for all the stuff going on including NASCAR.
All the hotels casino’s were booked and sold out. This event was totally sold out with 7000 people.
I arrived a couple hours early to check out the new Aladdin Casino that has 40 restaurants, some 200 stores and shops.
I went into the auditorium an hour early just not to take any chances I’d miss anything. What an awesome place.
Well,, they were playing background music real low of Waylon Jennings and Jessie Coulter.. a nice tribute to a fallen “Highwaymen” The stage consisted of amplifiers and instruments. It looked like roughly 60 amps, instruments, microphones. As you know, each star had his own band and each star only brought their key players, for example Ray Price brought his violin players and those that could recreate his sound. I saw no Strangers.

OK… on with the show.

All of a sudden the lights on the stage went dark and an announcer said,, Ladies and Gentle.. Let’s welcome Ray Price!!!!!!!!!!! Oh my…. The yells and applause and an immediate standing ovation of 7000 people was unbelievable.
Ray walked out and said, “I’m 81 years old” and they screamed again. And then he said, “I can positively tell you that I am not the father of Anna Nicole Smith’s baby.”  Oh they went crazy.

His voice was flawless, deep and rich, in fact without a doubt the best voice in the group. A real crooner, definitely
the Tony Bennett of the bunch. (now don’t get mad at me, you know I love them all) He did all his classics including some of these… the report continues after this lists.
Track Title iTunes Composers Performers Time
For the Good Times

Kris Kristofferson Ray Price (4:04)
Burning Memories

Mel Tillis, Wayne Walker Ray Price (2:25)
Take Me as I Am (Or Let Me Go) … Boudleaux Bryant Ray Price (2:55)
Lonesomest Lonesome … Mac Davis Ray Price (2:46)
She Wears My Ring … Felice Bryant, Boudleaux Bryant Ray Price (2:49)
Heart Over Mind

Mel Tillis Ray Price (2:47)
Crazy Arms

Ralph Mooney, Chuck Seals Ray Price (2:33)
The Other Woman (In My Life)

Don Rollins Ray Price (2:56)
You’re the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me

Jim Weatherly Ray Price (3:48)
I Won’t Mention It Again

Cam Mullins, Carolyn Jean Yates Ray Price (3:59)
Danny Boy

Frederic E. Weatherly Ray Price (4:37)
Release Me

Dub Williams, Robert Yount, Eddie Miller Ray Price (2:49)
She’s Got to Be a Saint

Michael Di Napoli, Braulio Paulini Ray Price (4:08)
City Lights

Bill Anderson Ray Price (2:51)
Heartaches by the Number

Harlan Howard Ray Price (3:02)
Make the World Go Away

Hank Cochran Ray Price (2:31)
I’ve Got a New Heartache

Wayne Walker Ray Price (2:31)
My Shoes Keep Walking Back to You

Lee Ross, Bob Wills Ray Price (2:32)
Talk to Your Heart

Louise Ulrich Ray Price (2:42)
Don’t Let the Stars Get in Your Eyes

When Ray was finished, the lights came on and they set up for the next person. I saw them tune up Merle’s guitar and Violin and set two water bottles there on his amps as they always do so I figured he was next,, but the lights when out and the announcer said,,, “Ladies and Gentlemen, Let’s welcome Asleep at the Wheel” Oh they came on like Gangbusters.. singing “Get your Kicks on Route 66” with Ray Bensen.

They were hot and the crowd went crazy.. all of a sudden,,, guess who comes drifting on stage looking like a million dollars?,, Merle Haggard drifts in on Asleep at the Wheel and when the crowd spots him,,, 7000 people jumped out of their chairs and started screaming and yelling.. whoa….. all too cool.. yep, I had tears, I was so proud of him.  He took his fiddle and they had a ball for a few songs then he got his guitar and he took over starting with “That’s the Way Love Goes”……….oh, the lights dimmed and he let everyone know (who was boss) hee hee.. well I had to say it. Now what was interesting about his concert, is no one had their own complete bands.. so hearing Merle sing with Asleep at the Wheel’s band was really interesting. Without Norman Hamlet there it took on a whole new dimension to his songs and “Asleep’s” steel was good but different. I’m sorry but I was raised on Roy Nichol’s and It’s my personal feeling that without Roy, the Strangers were never the same. I know Merle likes to play lead guitar,, but it just doesn’t cut it for me. I give him credit for what he does. He plays better then I do,, it’s just not Roy Nichols.

Merle was good and sang some good stuff like Silver Wings, Ramblin Fever.. he does a great job on the guitar on this one. WELL……………GUESS WHAT HAPPENS NOW? Merle says,, Ladies and Gentlemen… Welcome FREDDY POWERS… I never saw him in the back with Teresa Haggard.. Bless his heart… I was so happy to see him. I had talked with CAP about three weeks ago and she was hoping he would make the tour. He came out holding one arm that was bothering him. He didn’t play guitar but sang one song and everybody loved it. It was go neat to see hin.

WILLIE NELSON starts drifting on the stage in the middle of one of Merle’s song.. I think it was Poncho and Willie and , oh my god,,,, the audience sees him and goes ‘bonkers’
They jump out of their seats and screamed and yelled… Then Willie sings Poncho and Willie with Merle.. They start doing songs from that album… (what was it?.. all those duets? “Reasons to Quit” and that stuff… Oh god I loved that album.. Almost ended up in rehab over it.. good drinking songs. (No, I can actually go to these concerts sober now.. ha ha and have a ball.)
Well,,, eventually Willie took off on Whisky River and Merle drifted off and Willie took over. The younger bunch up closer all started dancing and going crazy up front. Willie was hot,, I mean hot and his guitar playing was none other than spectacular. I’m sure that auditorium had at least 100,000 watts of power to those speakers,, and Willie’s guitar just rang out with such clearness and accuracy and unbelievable chord progressions endlessly.

Ray Benson of “Asleep” is not amateur on his guitar either.  He did a lot of duets with Willie on the guitar. My hat was off to him. What a nice pleasant person on the stage. Everyone loved him. Well…. About 11pm… Willie waved goodbye and half started to leave and half stayed yelling MORE! MORE! MORE! Sure enough, here he comes… he laughed and said, “I was coming back anyway!” Everybody laughed.
He did two more and we were all just in Hog Heaven.

When it was over.. I just sat there thinking it was hard to believe all this happened under one roof.
The only mistake I made was parking in Valet Parking. Can you imagine waiting for your car with 7000 people waiting for theirs?? It took two hours to get the car. 

They were, “The Last of the Breed” Check out their new CD and check out their tour. Maybe you can see them.

VEGASBILLY

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