I didn’t write last night because I was at a Willie Nelson concert. And I never thought that I would ever write that I was at a Willie Nelson concert.
Like most things, if you avoid getting all judgmental and snobby, you can have a lot of fun. I’m not a country music fan, but it was pretty cool. It was Willie. He’s a legend.
And at almost 80, he’s adorable. He has a sort of grandpa feel. A grandpa with long braids and a bandana who probably had a toke or two or three before hitting the stage, but still a grandpa.
The concert utilized those really bright lights that shine into the audience (I know they have a name for those lights and I’ve been trying to think of it since last night but can’t).
Willie would frequently gesture for the audience to sing back to him on his best known songs.
He’d sing, “Mamas don’t let you babies grow up to be…” and the audience would shout back, “Cowboys!”
Or “I can’t wait to be…” and the crowd would sing, “on the road again.”
Every time he gestured, the audience lights would bump up to make sure we didn’t miss our cue.
I don’t know if he could see the crowd or not, but on each call and response, Willie’s face would light up with this fantastic smile. Not right away, but once he was sure we were singing. (Yes, we. I sang along too. When Willie Nelson says “sing,” you sing.)
It was almost like he was never quite sure the audience was going to go along with him. And when they did, he grinned like a kid on Christmas morning. I know that’s a tired cliché, but that’s exactly the image that came to mind when he smiled.
I suppose it would be rather embarrassing to ask an audience to finish a line and have them not do it. You’d be up there looking stupid deciding between singing it yourself and just moving on.
I don’t think Willie really had to worry about that. After all, he’s Willie Nelson. But he did seem genuinely pleased to hear his own song sung back to him.
I hope I’m that pleased by little things like that when I’m 80.