Willie Nelson inhales the love at 90th birthday concert

Los Angeles –

“Are there any other real cowboys out there?” Neil Young sang Saturday night at the Hollywood Bowl on a rare night when he wasn’t the headliner and wasn’t even close to the oldest artist at 77. rice field.

Wearing a cowboy hat and red, white and blue guitar straps, Willie Nelson stepped onto the stage on his 90th birthday and drew in more than 17,000 people.

Nelson sat in a chair — one of the few onstage concessions he’s gotten older — and joined Young for the rest of his 1985 duet, “Are Any More Real Cowboys?”

“I want to thank all the artists who came out tonight to help us celebrate whatever it was we were celebrating,” Nelson said, pretending to be absent-minded and laughing.

The moment was the first three hours of a two-night celebration of this country’s legend held at an open-air amphitheater in Los Angeles, where generations of stars sang his song in tribute. .

Owen Wilson, who hosted alongside Helen Mirren, Ethan Hawke, and Jennifer Garner, said, “As a kid growing up in Texas, it seemed like there was nothing greater than Willie Nelson.” “When I look over the bowl, I feel like there’s nothing greater than Willie Nelson.”

After Young, Nelson brought out next-generation country superstar George Strait in a self-proclaimed duet, “Sing One With Willie,” followed by Willie’s perennial song “Pancho and Lefty,” which Strait once performed. I sang a role. Merle Haggard deceased.

Nelson yelled, “Come out and roll with Snoop!”

Rapper Snoop Dogg, seated next to Nelson, began singing Stoner’s anthem, “Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die.” Appropriately, each seemed to forget words from time to time. The two friends looked too happy.

“Shout out for the legendary Mr. Willie Nelson!” Snoop exclaimed mid-song.

A parade of partners showcases one of the night’s themes. Willie brings people together.

“Suddenly it didn’t matter if you were a hillbilly or a hippie. Everyone was a fan of Willie Nelson. His native Texas in the 1970s.” I’m a fan. It’s true.”

There were many people, from small children to the elderly. The stands were dotted with cowboy hats, the aisles were hippies dancing and weed smoke was in the air.

Miranda Lambert thrilled them with a rousing singing version of Nelson’s 1978 hit “Mama Don’t Let Your Baby Grow Up To Be A Cowboy” with Waylon Jennings. 1980’s “Bloody Mary Morning” at the same breakneck pace that Willie and his family band played live in their heyday.

Nelson has outlived nearly all members of that band, supporting him with decades of constant touring and recording. His sister, piano player Bobby Nelson, died last year. She played the key from Willie Nelson’s definitive 1975 album ‘Red Headed Stranger’ to the young Nelson’s Saloon her style solo song ‘Down Yonder’ Nora from her Jones to her own. Received a tribute.

Many of the women who took the stage played evocative rockers, while most of the men participated for the quieter emotions.

Chris Stapleton puts his guitar aside through a soft, introspective rendition of “Always On My Mind,” Nelson’s biggest solo hit of the 1980s. Nelson’s son, Lucas, sang “Angel Flying Too Close to The Ground” on his acoustic guitar alone.

Another surviving member of the family band, harmonica master Mickey Raphael, was part of the weekend house band and supported almost everyone, led by Don Was.

Nelson has also outlived most of his classic collaborators. But the point is, his 86-year-old Highwaymen bandmate Kris Kristofferson took the stage alongside Rosanne Cash, the daughter of another Highwayman, Johnny Cash. .

Roseanne Cash was singing Nelson’s “Loving Her Was Easier (Till I Do It Again)” when Kristofferson, who wrote the song, came out and matched with her on the chorus. .

Diversity in Nelson’s music was another theme of the evening.

“He melds and bends genres,” Mirren said from the stage. “His timing and categories are his own.”

Leon Bridges’ “Night Life” showcased Nelson’s affinity for the blues, and as Jones took a jazzy trip on 1961’s “Funny How Time Slips Away,” Nelson is largely He was known as a songwriter for other hit songs.

Ziggy Marley sang “Still Is Still Moving to Me” recorded by Nelson in 1993, later with Toots and the Maytals in one of his occasional forays into reggae. Marley yelled “Wee ray!” with his Jamaican accent in the song.

Sunday night shows feature a variety of artists including Dave Matthews, Sheryl Crow and Emmylou Harris.

Young first took the stage with early collaborator Stephen Stills. The pair performed an upgraded version of “For What It’s Worth,” swapping the guitar solo for the classic hit they made as members of Buffalo Springfield in 1966.

Nelson brought all the artists of the night to join him on the Carter family’s 1935 song “Will the Circle Be Unbroken?” It’s his longtime live favorite and the classic closing song of all country music.

It was clearly meant to be the end, as Hawk took the mic and began to thank everyone who came.

But the 90-year-old wasn’t ready to stop just yet. He interrupted and cut into Mac Davis’s “It’s Hard to Be Humble,” which Nelson and his sons recorded in 2019.

It was an odd choice for the final song, but the chorus was the perfect comical coda for a man who had been drowning in worship all night.

“To know me is to love me. I must be a hell of a man. Lord, it’s hard to be humble. But I’m doing the best I can.”

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