Willie Nelson’s 90th birthday celebration brought together an eclectic group of well-wishers including Neil Young, Snoop Dogg and The Chicks for the first of two performances at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles on Saturday. See fan captured footage from the event below.
“Long Story Short: Willie Nelson 90, A Star-Studded Concert Celebrating Willie’s 90th Birthday” began with perhaps the youngest performer on the list, Billy Strings, who played two Willie gun Staples, “Whiskey River” and “Stay A Little Longer”. He later returned to backing Bob Weir on a rendition of “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain” from the 1975 classic Nelson LP, Red-headed strangerwhich received further looks from the likes of Norah Jones and Beck and Tyler Childers.
Country as a genre is well represented among The Chicks, Margo Price, Chris Stapleton, Miranda Lambert, and more, but the group has also spanned many Nelson stages and stages with covers from Tom Jones, Leon Bridges, Edie Brickell, and Ziggy Marley. Nelson’s one-time bandmate Kris Kristofferson as part of the supergroup The Highwaymen, appeared alongside Roseanne Cash, daughter of bandmate Johnny Cash, in a duet on “Loving Her Was Easier (Than Anything I’d Do Again)”.
Just a week after giving his first live performance in four years, Neil Young took the stage again for Buffalo Springfield reunion with Stephen Stills, releasing “For What It’s Worth” and “Long May You Run” before inviting a non-newborn The 1985 Nelson Young collaboration play, “Are There More Real Cowboys?” The country legend, who kept sitting and rocking on Trigger, took over as host and brought out George Strait to play a bit of wish fulfillment with his 2019 guest single, “Sing One With Willie.” The duo then revived Nelson’s famous duet with the late Merle Haggard, “Pancho and Lefty.”
In one of his final birthday wishes for the night, Nelson called for Snoop Dogg to “come out here and help me make one.” The two sat together for a performance of 2012’s “Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die,” which featured some country claiming from both, as well as Snoop dubbing longtime Nelson harmonica player Mickey Raphael as “Slick Mick.”
Nelson addressed the audience by joking, “I want to thank all the artists who came out tonight to help celebrate everything we celebrate,” and the audience was sure to clear up the confusion by singing once again “Happy Birthday.” He concluded the first night of Willie Nelson’s ’90 with a group rendition of his usual closer, “Is Circuit Breaking going to be cancelled?” and a cover of Mac Davis’ “It’s Hard to Be Humble”.
Owen Wilson, Helen Mirren, Ethan Hawke, and Jennifer Garner served as rotating performers throughout the concert, while the house band was led by Don Was and also included Nelson’s sons, Lucas and Micah. The second night of Christmas festivities is set, featuring Dave Matthews, Casey Musgraves, Sheryl Crow, Emmylou Harris and more.
Make the list:
Billy Stranges – Whiskey River (Johnny Bush)
Billy Stranges – Stay A Little Longer (Bob Wills And His Texas Playboys)
Charlie Crockett – The Party’s Over
Micah Nelson and Danielle Lanois – The Ghost
Lyle Lovett – Hello Walls
Eddie Brickell & Charlie Sexton – Remember Me (When the Candle Lights Were Twinkling) (Lulu Bell & Scotty)
Margo Price and Nathaniel Ratliff – Bring Back the Weeds (Willie Nelson and Leon Russell)
Beck – Hand on the Wheel (Will Callery)
Norah Jones – Dawn Yonder (L Wolf Gilbert)
Warren Haynes – Midnight Rider (The Allman Brothers Band)
Rosanne Cash and Kris Kristofferson – Loving Her Was Easier (Than Anything I’d Do Again)
Lucas Nilsson – an angel flying near the Earth
Leon Bridges and Gary Clark Jr – Nightlife
Gary Clark Jr. – Texas Flood (Larry Davis)
Jack Johnson – Willie got me Stoned and take all my money. – Jack Johnson – Willie stoned me and took all my money
Tyler Childers – Healing Hands of Time
Tyler Childers – The Preacher’s Time
Ziggy Marley – He’s Still Moving To Me
Tom Jones – A Chance To Cry
Jamie Johnson – Live Forever
Bob Weir – Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain (Elton Britt and The Skytoppers)
Chicks – Bloody Mary Morning
The Lumineers – A Song for You (Leon Russell)
Sturgill Simpson – I’m Going Crazy
Miranda Lambert – Mama Don’t Let Your Kids Grow Up To Be Cowboys (Ed Bruce)
Chris Stapleton – Last Thing I Needed First Thing This Morning (Gary B. Nunn)
Chris Stapleton – You’re Always On My Mind (Gwen McCrae)
Neil Young & Stephen Stills – Long May You Run (The Stills – Young Band)
Neil Young & Stephen Stills – For What It’s Worth (Buffalo Springfield)
Willie Nelson and Neil Young with Stephen Stills – Are There More Real Cowboys?
Willie Nelson with George Strait – Sing One with Willie (George Strait)
Willie Nelson with George Strait – Pancho and Lefty (Townes Van Zandt)
Willie Nelson with Snoop Dogg – Roll Me and Smoke Me When I Die
Willie Nelson – On the Road Again
Willie Nelson – Will the Circle Break? / I will fly away
Willie Nelson – It’s Hard to Be Humble (Mac Davis)