Willie Nelson Show at Fort Lewis College, Durango, Colorado (May 2005)

Tickets to Willie’s Durango Show at Fort Lewis College sold out in six minutes.    People got in line early in the morning for tickets, but the tickets sold outon-line almost immediately, and less than 10 of the Durango residents waiting in line at the box office got tickets.  Lots of disappointed fans.  Fort Lewis sponsors (VIPs who have donated $2,500 – $10,000), and the athletic department got the chance to buy four tickets each.   And volunteers got some free tickets, and that is fair. 

Durango worked for over two years to bring Willie to town.  The concert was moved from the concert hall to the gymnasium, which held more people:  2100.   They thought about having it outside, but then they remembered how much it could snow in Durango in May, and decided against it. 

A friend and I drove 8 hours from Boulder west through the mountains to see the show.  Fort Lewis was a great venue, very cozy.  The seats on the floor were reserved, and general admisstion was the bleachers and standing along the wall.  Very cozy. Everyone seemed to know each other, and there was lots of hugging and yelling out to friends. It was like Durango had a town fair and invited Willie to show up.  The MC welcomed us all, gave out some birthday wishes, and congratulated his mom and dad (who were in the audience) for their 50th wedding anniversary.

The acoustics were good for a gym, from where I was sitting anyway on the floor, anyway. Willie was great. I think it was the sweetest rendition of “Funny, how Time Slips Away” that I have ever heard. All his guitar solos were clean and crisp, and touched me so deeply. I love to watch him play that guitar.  And still is still movin’ gave me goosebumps like it always does.

The crowd loved Willie. Everyone I talked to was from Durango, or nearby, and had not seen Willie at all before, or not for 30 years. Can you imagine being in room full of mostly all first-time concert goers? Willie got so much applause and cheering. You know how people cheer for Crazy at every show, and he says, “Thank you very much.” Well, last night, as soon as Willie started any song, people recognized the hit that was coming, and clapped and cheered. Willie was thanking the crowd all night long. I hope he felt the love.

Everyone went wild on all of Willie’s variations, when he sang “Momma, don’t let your cowboys grow up to be babies” they cheered and laughed out loud, they loved when he imitated Julio Iglasius with his Spanish accent on “All the Girls”. When he asked if folks liked Hank Williams, people went crazy, and loved his songs Willie sang.  People were drinking and having fun and so happy to have Willie in town doing a show.

Willie  announced that his Reggae album would be released, and sang, “The Harder They Fall”, and it just got your spirit moving.  It was a great rendition of that song.  What genre can’t Willie sing in?  Can’t wait for that album! Also, he sang his new “Superman” song, and “Rainbow Connection” song, which is always fun to hear, along with all his other greatest hits that he sings at his shows.

The gym had no back stage, so Willie and band had to walk in through side door, and climb steps to the stage. So I made sure I was up there when Willie started to leave and walked by and reached out to his fans. Miss Bobbie and Paul English were gracious, as always, and waved and gave us all smiles and waves.

(sorry, none of my pictures came out so good.)

No backstage meant that after the show the crew was down on the floor as they started to break down.  We got to hang out with them, while we tried to stay out of their way, after the concert. I chatted with Budrock, who shared some guitar pics with me.

The drive to Durango from Boulder was beautiful, we left at 10:00 a.m., and got there at 5:00 before the show.   It was sunny and warm, and the mountains beautiful.    We hopped right back in the car after the concert for the drive back. We ran into snow on Wolf Pass, but I always run into snow in Wolf Pass, and that was a little scary for a while, but drove out of it as we got off the mountain pass, and no harm came to us.  Went right to work and was wasted all day, but I was smiling!

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