Oh what a night at Ruth Eckerd Hall, as Willie Nelson once again made it to Clearwater Florida! When he finally walked on the stage, the sold out house took to their feet screaming his name, the applause deafening, ( I think)… hard to say as I was screaming so loudly for him, that I am not sure I heard anyone in particular but everyone’s voice as one! We watched as the legend dressed in a black t-shirt, black jeans, worn good tennis shoes, with his black hat just calmly walked on stage and grinned while waving a “Well hello there, it’s been a long long time”. We watched as his little sister Bobbie was escorted to her shiny black piano and took her seat, and Paul took to the drum. I wondered where in the world was Mickey Raphael… The bass man was awesome. We talked of the days of old, the Outlaws, Willie and Family… Waylon Willie and the boys as we anticipated that walk on stage, a night of his “Nightlife”, his voice, his life played out in music.
We watched as Willie picked up Trigger and placed it around his neck… just knowing that this was a night long to be remembered. I had noticed a couple who brought their little boy around 8 that sat in front of us, the Dad wanted him to see Willie, to see him live and his way with a guitar. I liked that a lot. Smart Dad.
Most of the audience were still trying to undo the damage done to their nerves by the opening act. My gawd was she painful to listen to, many walking out to get a breath of icy raining air after three songs. Where in the world did they find her and why I kept wondering… I did not pay to hear that nor was it mentioned on the ticket price. the pain, oh the pain of that guitar she kept tuning between dark songs that droned on and on…
Finally we had too much and had to walk away to breathe(we found many like minded folks with one nerve left when we got outside) as we waited for the one and only… Willie, we all wanted Willie.
When we got WILLIE, we got “All of him, the best of him, the most of him”. He was rich, he was poetry in motion, powerful in voice and the combination of he and Trigger; his faithful guitar were unstoppable. From the old classic Willie, to the off the hook guitar playing Willie, he had the audience on their feet more times than I could count screaming for MORE… Bobbie at that piano with only the top of her hat being seen was a magician once again, her fingers remarkable as she had the ivories tickled and tantalized with each and every touch. It was a night to remember, a night of a legend on that stage once again, a modern day prophet that so many of us have listened to over the years who just keeps moving, keeps us moved… and amazed.
Willie engaged everyone, he had us singing “Will the Circle be unbroken”, he had folks singing parts of “Mama don’t let your babies grow up to be cowboys” and he smiled a smile that everyone felt was being smiled for just them when he did it!
But my goodness, his voice… his hands and body when he played that guitar. An extension of a life lived through music, through feeling the lines of each song, living them fully, the last of the free, the original outlaw that everyone loves.
When he sang “Still is STILL moving to me” the crowd exploded… and oh so true those words are… When he sang, “Angel flying too close to the ground” there were some tears and even more truth, and an aura that came around him…
The merchandise stand out in the lobby seemed to have the longest line; folks just can’t get enough of Willie Nelson! As I sat with my family of choice, all of a sudden a red bag got handed to me… wouldn’t ya just know it, Mitch and Laura had snuck and bought me a Willie Shirt! Right there I had to put it on over my sweater, I had died and gone to heaven, now sporting my “WILLIE SPIRIT” shirt with black sleeves and red shirt with none other than Willie’s face on it!
Oh yea, life is good! What a great night to celebrate Mom’s birthday… as she was out partying like no body’s business in VA, I was with Willie and family. Oprah celebrated her birthday yesterday, Landon Korabek turned 21 in heaven… Willie at 80 is tuned up, turned on and keepin’ on with music that is the Universal language for hope, healing, and great vibes for everyone everywhere… Let the music move you to all good things wherever you are… just as you are.
Willie got close to the end of his show with his newest gospel song; and the audience just screamed… the energy in the rain after it was all over was as electric as a parade…
So here ya go… “just look em in the eye…” there’s a party goin’ on, so Roll Me Up and Smoke me When I die!
Thanks Willie& family… through the years, through the old times of coming back stage and on the bus, “you are always on my mind”…
Walk in beauty,