Tuesday, May 27, 2003

Still Cool at 70: Willie Nelson

Last night I hunkered down to watch the "Willie Nelson and Friends: Live and Kickin" special on USA network.
I like Willie pretty much. After all, he is a liberal, offbeat Texan personified.
Guys like Willie are why the rest of the U.S. doesn't bomb us off the map. Admit it, without guys like Willie, you non-Texans would totally hate us Texans.
He makes Texas seem like happy outlaw country, with his only crimes being smoking huge quantities of curiously strong pot, wearing his hair down to his waist and playing the world's most fucked-up old guitar.
Damn, does Willie have some friends.
Eric Clapton, the God of guitar, was humbled in Willie's presence when they did a duet of "Nightlife." Clapton's electric guitar blues and Willie's acoustic blues combined were heavenly.
Diana Krall, Elvis Costello and Willie did "Crazy." Diana and Elvis make a perfect couple.
Norah Jones and Willie did "Wurlitzer Prize" and I could see Willie was as turned on by NJ as the rest of us are. Her little smile could arouse a junkie.
Here's who else showed up to play: Paul Simon, Sheryl Crow, Kris Kristofferson, Shania Twain, Toby Keith, Lyle Lovett, Ray Price, ZZ Top, Shelby Lynne, Ray Charles, Leon Russell, John Mellenkamp, Kenny Chesney, Steven Tyler and Wyclef Jean.
The only really bad number was the duet between Wyclef Jean and Willie.
They played "To All the Girls I've Loved Before" in a reggae arrangement and Wyclef kept going off the lyrical map and befuddling Willie. They both looked so stoned it's a wonder they could play at all. Willie + Reggae= wrong, wrong, wrong.
Anyway, the show will be replayed Saturday May 31 at 1 a.m. central and Sunday, July 1 at 8 a.m. central. Borrow some pot from the neighbor kid and try to watch it.
It was that good.

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