[This post originally published August 30, 2008.]
Have you ever seen a legend, live? Seeing a legend, live – it can be an incredible thing. Here’s the scene: Warm August evening. Outdoor auditorium. Multiple generations. (Maybe like any other legend, Pink Floyd / Brit Floyd, Neil Diamond.) It only lasted an hour and a half. But, for me, it was the best graduation present ever – seeing Willie Nelson, live.
We had great seats, no doubt about it. We were in the front row of the middle section, in about the middle, exactly where I wanted to be, and Peter had no complaints. Yes, we could see the stage. I even took two terrible mobile photos. Three people sat to our left, age range between 50 and 60. The gentlemen seated next to Peter, to our left, had a certain Gerry Garcia look to him. To our right, the couple was teetering 80. The woman, presumably his wife, did not look like she was enjoying herself. He made a half dozen trips to the stage, and I think he even got his record signed. Behind us, were the pretentious 30-somethings, the closest folks to our age range. They were the classic Portland-Yuppie-Hipster. Despite their disposition, they were perfect concert-goers – singing, clapping, standing at all the right moments.
The music. He came out on cue immediately following the sponsored KUPL remarks, and began with Whiskey River, followed by another oldie and Beer for my Horses. I was disappointed in the crowds’ reaction, but Peter reminded me of the age range of attendees. I mean, people, we have a legend here! This is Willie Nelson! He’s been performing for upwards of 40 years! Let’s show some enthusiasm that the guy still has it in him to perform for us! He did receive a unanimous standing ovation at the end when he closed with Whiskey River and then two encore songs, the last being a protest song encouraging us to Take Back America.
This is the first concert I have attended since 1996 when I saw the Smashing Pumpkins play at the Breslin Center at MSU, walking distance from my dorm. And now, I am really excited about the possibility to see Willie again with Merle Haggard April 2009 with the Green Train. I can’t wait to see more legends, because there is nothing like seeing a legend, live.