Willie Nelson in Las Vegas #WilliesReserve

by:  John Katsilometes

I’ve occasionally encountered a busker in downtown Las Vegas dressed as Willie Nelson,but this was the genuine article.

Seemingly recovered from the illness that caused him to cancel last weekend’s performances at Venetian Theater, the country music icon turned up in the Arts District on Tuesday night. The “Willie Nelson & Family” performances were to return to the stage Wednesday night, and again Friday and Saturday.

Generating buzz by his mere presence, Nelson stopped at Exile Boutique apparel and guitar shop on Main Street, just south of Charleston Boulevard. He was on hand to promote his new Willie Nelson Reserve line of cannabis products, grown and harvested in Las Vegas by Redwood Cultivation. Willie’s Reserve is being distributed at eight area medical marijuana dispensaries.

Nelson walked in amid a haze of smoke that reminded of a scene in “Refer Madness,” or the Titanic number in “Jubilee.” He was greeted by a sea of well-wishers that included Corey Harrison of “Pawn Stars” and Plaza Chief Executive Officer Jonathan Jossel.

Keeping in form, Nelson fired up a few samples and passed them around the room, which swiftly took on the fragrance of a Snoop Dogg concert.

I asked Nelson about his health, which was the reason for last weekend’s cancellation of his shows. “I’m good. I’m getting there.” He then nodded to the throng in the store and said, “Good crowd, huh?” I told him, “I’ve been to a lot of events in Las Vegas, but nothing quite like this.”

“Well, we have a lot of good people working hard and I want everybody to be happy and get along,” he said. “We have a good product, and I think they’re having fun.”

He then offered a sample, lighter at the ready. “Not tonight,” I said. “Not any night actually.” And so it goes …


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