Willie Nelson Wows El Dorado

Willie Nelson plays El Dorado Municipal Auditorium. Photo by Zoie Clift.

Quick recap of the Willie Nelson and Family concert last night in El Dorado at the Municipal Auditorium. Great show! The venue was packed as it was a sold out show. I was only planning to stay for a few songs to take some photos but I ended up staying the whole show.

Nelson is quite a performer–he started the concert with a large black cowboy hat on that cast a huge shadow across his face that hid his eyes but then a few songs in, traded that in for his trademark red bandana. A few times during the show he ripped the bandana from his head and threw it into the crowd. Then he would put another one on.

Willie Nelson and Family in concert. Photo by Z. Clift.

There were many standout moments during the performance, including when he sang the legendary  “On the Road Again” that got the whole venue clapping along with his version of “Will the Circle Be Unbroken”–which he got a standing ovation for. He then told the crowd that he was going to do another gospel song and started in on “Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die”, which also got the crowd clapping along. He also played the title track from his upcoming album Let’s Face the Music and Dance, which is set to release next month. His sister Bobbie Nelson took center stage for a while on the piano and harmonica player Mickey Raphael also had some solo time. At the end of the show, Nelson stayed on stage for a bit to sign autographs–he was signing everything: cowboy boots and hats, ticket stubs, cell phones ( I guess the person didn’t have anything else with them).

He appeared happy on stage throughout the show–a big smile on his face. He thrust his arm up in the number one manner many times throughout the show and would also encouraged the crowd to sing along, putting his hand behind his ear to signify to everyone to sing louder. Driving back home after the show, I passed his tour bus, which stands out due to the mural on the back that depicts half of Nelson’s eyes/face superimposed with the face of an American eagle. The 79-year old performer was already heading to his next show, which he is playing tonight in Catossa,  Oklahoma ( he turns 80 years old next month on April 30). On the road again indeed.

It was a great night for El Dorado and many kudos to the Main Street El Dorado folks ( and a big shout out to Mark Givens and Jeremy Ables) for making it happen. Also big thanks to Kristine Puckett for making the journey with me. For more details on Main Street El Dorado, check out http://www.mainstreeteldorado.org/.   If you missed the concert, a neat upcoming event in town will be Bugs, Bands, and Bikes May 10-11, which is one of the regions largest motorcycle events. They also have tons of crawfish on hand to eat!