Nashville was not rough tonight, it was smooth as silk and a love fest. It was so heart-warming to see how much the fans in Nashville love Willie Nelson. And how much he loves them back.
When Willie sang “Me and Paul”, they cheered to hear that Nashville was the roughest. When he told about almost getting busted ‘but for reasons that I’d rather not disclose” fans giggled, appreciating the inside joke. The crowd roared when he declared that “All the whiskey in Lynchberg, Tennessee, just couldn’t do the trick”, because it’s all going to pot.” And every time the audience responded, Willie rewarded us with the sweetest smile. Everyone laughed so loud, enjoying Willie Nelson’s humor, like they were hearing the jokes for the first time.
Fans knew the words to every song and sang the chorus right along with Willie. When Willie broke into “Crazy”, I have never heard such a response, responding to that song that Willie Nelson wrote, and that Patsy Cline made famous. So exciting to hear Willie Nelson sing “Crazy” live in Nashville. Whiskey River, Nightlife, the Hank Williams’ medley, every song drew yells of delight from the appreciative crowd.
The venue had seats, and boxes, all around the venue, and seats for fans behind the stage. Willie made sure he acknowledged everyone when he came out on stage, waving and pointing the most distant, highest seat in the balconies, and behind him. Somehow, he makes all of us feel so special when we go to see him.
It was not a stand up and dance concert, everyone stayed sitting, which is so hard for me to do. Finally, a few of us tried to stand when the band played “On the Road Again” (Who can sit when Willie Nelson is singing “On the Road Again”?) But the woman behind me said she couldn’t see, so I sat down. That being said, even though they were sitting, everyone enjoyed the show so much, and showed it. Lots of screaming and cheering, causing Willie to say, “I hear you” many times throughout the concert. When he threw out bandannas, and he threw out lots tonight, the fans squealed like he was throwing out 100 dollar bills, and of course, they were priceless gifts to the fans who caught them.
After the show, Willie spent some time at the front of the stage, shaking hands and signing autographs for fans. Always so moving to see how much love and attention Willie gives his fans, making eye contact with everyone, acknowledges them, shakes a hand and then moves on to the next fan, and makes them so happy.
It was a mixed age crowd, like most of the shows I’ve been too. Young cowboys and cute young women, and older folks like me — everyone was loving Willie Nelson and Family, and so grateful to get to hear them play.
The Schermerhorn Center was one of the best venues I’ve ever heard the band in. Designed for the Nashville Symphony, the sound was so clear, and you could hear all the instruments so clearly. I can’t remember when I have heard the triangle, and shakers and all the percussion instruments so clearly. Mickey’s harmonicas were so clear, and the stand-up bass that Kevin Smith played. You got to hear all the tones and amazing sounds from Bobbie’s guitar, and then Trigger, Trigger was singing. The band sounded so good. Even though we couldn’t dance, it was a lively show, and comfortable, and no shoving or pushing or getting beer poured down your neck, like some shows (those are fun, too).
The gospel set drew a crowd of family and friends on to the stage, and there was a crowd up there. Raelyn Nelson, Willie’s granddaughter, who lives in Nashville (and has he own band!), and Waylon Payne, and Melonie Cannon, the McCrary Sisters, and several others who I don’t know, joined Willie for the set.
Willie Nelson made sure that he said goodbye to everyone when he left the stage.
There is nothing like a Willie Nelson concert.