Willie and the Wheel

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Willie Nelson and Ruby Jane, on Asleep at the Wheel Tour

posted at Ruby Jane’s blog www.Myspace.com/RubyJaneSmith

Tad Dickens was one of the lucky folks who got to see Willie Nelson and Asleep at the Wheel last night, and told these stories at http://www.roanoke.com  

The folks went nuts for Willie.  At one point just before he began singing “Pancho and Lefty,” a man near the stage shouted, “Love you, Willie!” As Nelson broke into the first line, a woman sitting near that man said in a quieter voice, “I love you, too.”

Nelson came onstage wearing a black straw cowboy hat, but tossed it out into the crowd about halfway through the set. About 10 rows back, a man caught it.

Nelson seemed finished with his set, before all of a sudden looking down and picking up something from the floor. He told the band, “Happy Birthday to You, in G,” then dedicated the song to “Julie Ann, on her 39th birthday.”

A pair of women near the front began jumping, screaming and hugging. One of them was Julie Ann Pauley, of Giles County. Next to her was her mother, Vickie Lafon, also of Giles County. Lafon said she left a little card with the birthday request at the front of the stage, “hoping he would see it.”

He did. 

Nelson sounded particularly good, as did harmonica player Mickey Raphael, who joined the band for most of the Nelson classics.

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