BY: JANEL SPIEGEL
Musikfest 2022: Willie Nelson
August 6, 2022
Wind Creek Steel Stage at PNC Plaza – Musikfest
Willie Nelson… Forever… Always… “On The Road Again.” 98 Albums. Willie said he released his 98th album on his 89th Birthday. Seven decades of Willie Nelson. I spoke with Willie Nelson fans, Angela and Karen. They are huge fans of “Always on my Mind”. “Always on my Mind” has become a signature Willie song, it was written by, Wayne Carson, Mark James, and Johnny Christopher. Willie sang a variety of his hit songs, songs he’s written with his sons, and everyone from Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash, and many more.
Willie Nelson has performed in over 2,518 concerts. I don’t want to ramble on in this article but I will say I have loved Willie Nelson since I’m a kid, and thanks to my mom and her vast variety of music choices in life. “On the Road Again” was a song that I was always singing, and you know what, I still sing, in fact I sang it tonight again with Willie Nelson, and a packed, sold out beyond SOLD OUT Show.
People came from all over to see the Red Headed Stranger. The man, the myth, the LEGEND that is Willie Nelson. People were decked out in Willie gear, t-shirts that read, “Willie Nelson for President”, “The Outlaw Willie”, and many more. The Cowboy hats and Willie’s legendary bandana was out in full swing. I must have seen one hundred people wearing bandana just as Willie wears them. A couple behind me shared that this was the first time they would be seeing Willie in concert. I said you won’t be disappointed. I was able to see Willie a few times in concert but never at Musikfest.
Willie’s shows have always been about the music and family. He was joined by one his sons, his sons sound a like him. I’m not crying, you’re crying.” Willie also lost his beloved sister Bobbie Nelson. https://willienelson.com/blogs/news/dear-sister Willie always said one of the best moments was when Bobbie finally joined his band. https://willienelson.com/pages/tour
Willie Nelson has performed with everyone from Ray Charles, Waylon Jennings, he even wrote a song with Mariah Carey for the film, Tennessee. Willie has been a part of the music industry, film industry, helping people. Willie Nelson has written over 2,000 songs, yes that’s right, over TWO THOUSAND SONGS. Imagine being in the music industry for seven decades, releasing over ninety albums, touring all over, writing music, playing instruments, starting bands, and still, STILL being relevant to past, present, and future generations. The audience age range varied from kids who were singing along to the grown folks of course.
A lot of people are fascinated with Willie Nelson and his songs like “If I Die When I’m High I’ll Be Halfway to Heaven” which of course is referring to Willie’s marijuana use over the years. Some fans think that’s an important aspect but Willie is so much more than that whether people want to think about it or not.
The man played one note of a song and people started singing. Some of the songs Willie performed tonight included: “Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground”, “Whiskey River”, “Stay a Little Longer”, “Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys” – that is one of my all-time favorite songs. It’s a reminder that no matter where you are in life, Willie’s music is beyond universal.
He also performed “On the Road Again”, I mean do I need to say anything about this ICONIC song in which his son Micah Nelson helped him write a song called, “Everything is Bullsh*t.” Willie was into it and did some laughing. The man is a legend. Willie Nelson is a ICON, a National Treasure. He came on that stage and gave his all at the young age of eighty-nine years old.
Micah also helped his dad write, “If I Die When I’m High I’ll Be Halfway to Heaven” in which he references “On the Road Again” One of the lyrics is: “If only I could back “On the Road Again.” It was AMAZING. Micah you did good. Another moment that made me tear up was when Micah looked over at Willie, and said, “Take it, Dad.” Micah told Willie he had to write that song, and Willie said, no you write it, and Micah did.
A few more songs Willie and his incredible band did was “Georgia on my Mind[‘, “Aways on my Mind”, “Move It On Over”, he had help from the audience. “I’ll Love You Till The Day I Die”, “Write Your Own Songs” “Away”, “It’s Hard to Be Humble.” He had the opening acts on the stage towards the end, they all sang together.
It was a great show, Willie Nelson is a legend.
When Willie leaves Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, he will be on the road again to Charlottesville, VA., and so on. Willie will also be in Camden, NJ for the Outlaw Fest: Waterfront Music Pavilion and Farm Aid in Raleigh, NC.