About 2,500 people (including our family) showed up on Friday night to watch Willie Nelson rock the house at the Nevada County Fairgrounds.
We’ve seen Willie twice before (in Saratoga and San Rafael), but we enjoyed this performance the most. Willie is older (almost 80 years old), but he quickly warmed up and sang (and played) his heart out. The County Fairgrounds was a fitting venue too. People were dancing in the aisles.
Willie was joined by a bass player, a harmonica player and a drummer — but that was about it. You could clearly hear Willie strumming, along with his voice.
Until the security wised up, you also could get about 20 feet away from this American music legend in the front row (that’s where this iPhone photo came from).
I watched Willie “up close” for a while, and I could see that his guitar was well-worn. We were still close to the stage after I scampered back to our seats. I probably enjoyed “City of New Orleans” the most.
Pegi Young opened the show, and The Center for the Arts’ Executive Director Julie Baker — who has reinvigorated the Grass Valley nonprofit, along with her staff — showed “mucho” energy on stage before the concert, getting the crowd warmed up.
The auction to benefit the Bear Yuba Land Trust went well too: A guitar signed by Willie fetched $6,500 in the auction. Two African safaris went for $4,200.
Willie played almost nonstop for well over an hour and then said: “I’m going to get back on my bus.”
And he did: In fact, we spotted his bus as we got off Hwy. 20 at Sacramento St. in Nevada City to go home. Willie’s bus quietly continued up Hwy. 20 (“the road less traveled”) to his next gig (at West Wendover, Nevada).
We should all be so productive when we’re almost 80.
Next year’s concert for the Land Trust will be a tough act to follow: Our family and our friends who joined us are rooting for Jackson Browne.
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