October 27th, 2007 at 12:06 pm
Willie Nelson may be 74, but he packs as much energy into a show as almost anyone in the business. You won’t see Willie jumping and dancing onstage, but that was never his style anyway.
But during the course of 37 songs and about two hours of playing, Willie proved why he’s still a major concert draw.
Photos by Kevin Kinder, Northwest Arkansas Times
He played his old songs. He played his new songs. He played traditional songs by his outlaw country contemporaries. Most of all, he played, nearly nonstop, for the duration of the show. It’s been nearly three years since I’ve last seen Willie in concert, and I’d forgotten how marvelous a guitar player he really is.
And the sold-out crowd [it was so packed I had to stand beside the seating area] enjoyed every minute of it.
The scope of his work is staggering: He’s recorded or been featured on more than 100 albums. He started with “Whiskey River” and moved into a few of his newer tracks, including “Beer for my Horses,” a song he recorded with country star Toby Keith. He also played two Kris Kristofferson songs in a row: “Help Me Make It Through the Night” and “Me and My Bobby McGee.”
About halfway through the concert, Nelson and company unloaded the hits. Played in order were “If You’ve Got The Money Honey, I’ve Got the Time,” “Blue Eyes Cryin’ In The Rain,” “Blue Skies,” “Georgia on my Mind,” “All of Me,” “Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Cowboys,” “Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground,” “On the Road Again,” “Always on my Mind” and, after a cover of a Django Reinhardt tune, “Good Hearted Woman.”
All that in the course of an hour. There were more songs that followed, and a brief encore. And Willie, not one to tire after a show, was gracious enough to sign autographs for those willing to wait out the crowd.
The concert was the Red Headed Stranger’s seventh in Eureka Springs. One has to hope he’s got a few more in him.
As for the opener, Robin English started slowly but soon got the crowd moving. In additions to covers of Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire” and Led Zeppelin’s “D’yer Maker,” she played several of her own tunes. For fun, she also rearranged the lyrics of one of Nelson’s songs, singing “Mammas, don’t let your cowboys grow up to be babies,” poking fun at fake ropers.