I saw Willie Nelson in LA a couple of weeks ago
Less than a week after I saw Willie in San Diego, Allen and I headed up to Los Angeles to see Willie Nelson and Family at the Walt Disney Concert Hall. Where I’d been in the 5th row in SD, we could not have been further away in LA. We were in the last row of the highest balcony. The Hall is really uniquely shaped — I assume for acoustic reasons — so the sound was great and our view wasn’t bad. But I wasn’t close enough to see Willie’s face like I had been a few days earlier.
Willie and the Family dressed up a bit for the occasion but it was largely the same set I’d seen the week before. Don’t get me wrong, I’d watch him play that same set every night but I haven’t seen them play shows so close together before and so I’ve always been impressed with how much they do mix up the sets months or even just weeks apart.
For both shows, I bought the live download they do. I got the San Diego show in email recently and I’ve been listening non-stop. I’m excited to hear the LA show again and compare the sets.
I gotta mention this: Willie’s son Lukas, who plays in the band, opened the show (as he often does) with his band The Promise of the Real. Usually they’re a 3 or 4 piece that does electric blues in a Stevie Ray Vaughan style though more wiry. I am not a fan of any blues stylings. I had noted the week prior that Lukas and TPOTR probably only played 5 songs in their half hour set where Willie and Family played 5 songs in about 10 minutes. You know my sensibilities in such matters.
But in LA, Lukas and the band dressed it up a bit. Lukas still played his wiry Strat but his bassist played an upright and they were supplemented by a banjo and piano. (Was there an acoustic guitar in there too?) They played a few of the songs that I’ve heard before but even when they did, they were so restrained that the tunes sounded fresh to me. I was deeply impressed with the performance. I hope he’ll do more like that.