Willie Nelson closed his efficiency at Frost Amphitheater on Monday in basic raspy tone, singing “Glad birthday to … me!”
The birthday ballad was well timed: Nelson turns 90 years previous this Saturday. The tune was paying homage to Nelson’s 1984 rendition of “Glad, Glad Birthday Child” with fellow nation star Dolly Parton.
Though cowboy sightings could also be uncommon in Palo Alto, a birthday want was seemingly sufficient to summon Willie Nelson followers from each nook of the Bay Space. A gentle stream of boot clicks guided me into the amphitheater. I felt a uncommon sense of “American spirit” settle over Stanford College as concertgoers filed into the amphitheater.
I first discovered the merchandise tent, which boasted each piece of Nelson paraphernalia possible, together with his face screen-printed onto bandanas and plaques endorsing “Willie Nelson for President 2024.” As a girl bought a tee shirt, one other concertgoer tapped her shoulder. “Needless to say something that claims ‘Reserve’ is Willie selling his hashish line,” she stated.
Each an emblem of Americana and a countercultural drive, Nelson launched “Willie’s Reserve” in 2015 on the heels of marijuana legalization in some US states. The Abbott, Texas-born singer’s progressive politics are a departure from nation conventions, and his vocal stance on decriminalizing marijuana is only one instance. Whereas a lot of his conservative followers have referred to as for Nelson to maintain music separate from politics, he refuses to take action.
Accordingly, Nelson’s viewers at Frost comprised a different demographic: tech staff in “Lonesome Cowboy” tee shirts, previous males sporting the American flag on suede jackets and laughing toddlers in flared denim.
Willie Nelson has produced upwards of 100 albums in his profession, with 5 albums launched within the final 5 years alone. Shirts within the crowd named Nelson the “final of the breed.” Arising on his ninetieth birthday, Nelson approached themes of mortality with humor and levity. Versus hanging up his cowboy hat in previous age, he carried out “Roll Me Up and Smoke Me Once I Die” with all of the animation he has come to be adored for.
Nelson kicked off the evening together with his basic hit “Whiskey River.” He maintained rhythm, transitioning between songs swiftly like a float down the whiskey river his lyrics describe. When Nelson’s getting older voice faltered, the gang stuffed the amphitheater with track. He was accompanied by his son, Micah Nelson, who performs below the moniker Particle Child. The stage title got here from his father’s stoned try and name Micah “prodigal son” when he was 14.
Particle Child’s voice has an experimental, indie high quality. The 2 sang “Die Once I’m Excessive (Midway to Heaven),” a track they dreamt up throughout a sport of dominoes in 2020. Micah Nelson wrote the track as a love letter to his father by poetic, sentimental strains nodding to his everlasting wild spirit. Nelson sang of his father, “they are saying individuals my age are anticipated to fade, nicely I’m afraid I’ve allow them to down.” In live performance, their collaboration advised a touching story of generations.
Openers Tyler Sales space and Shane Smith and the Saints impressed with quick, putting units of their very own. Sales space’s clean baritone paved the best way for Smith, whose upbeat nation has been featured within the standard present “Yellowstone” that includes Kevin Costner. Smith and Sales space efficiently primed the gang for Nelson with a rustic sound.
As fanatics of the style flocked to the lawns of Frost to rejoice Willie Nelson’s early birthday, they helped cement one more yr of melodies and marijuana for the nation legend, bringing a rarified cowboy air again to the Farm.
Editor’s Be aware: This text is a evaluation and contains subjective ideas, opinions and critiques.