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Crazy: Willie Nelson & Family @ The Avalon, 2/20/13

“I’m crazy, crazy for feelin’ so lonely
And I’m crazy, crazy for feelin’ so blue

Oh I knew, you’d love me as long as you wanted
And then some day, you’d leave me for somebody new

Worry, why do I let myself worry?
Wonderin’, what in the world did I do? yeah

I’m crazy for thinkin’ that my love could hold you
Crazy for tryin’, crazy for cryin’ and I’m crazy for lovin’ you

Worry, why do I let myself worry?
Wonderin’, what in the world did I do?

I’m crazy for thinkin’ that my love could hold you
Crazy for tryin’, crazy for cryin’ and I’m crazy for lovin’ you
Crazy for tryin’, and crazy for cryin’ and I’m crazy for lovin’ you”

~”Crazy”, Willie Nelson

This may go down as one of the most awkward shows of my life.

Seeing Willie Nelson is nearly an annual tradition for me. It’s in my DNA as a Texan…blah blah, etc. etc. I’ve written about that at length before.

This was an expensive ticket…but it was a benefit, so my DNA decided that I needed to go. It was down the street! Texas came to me. So as I was getting ready, I went through the usual motions of a pre-Willie show: I put my hair in pigtail braids, put on my Texas earrings, jeans, and a flannel shirt. This is how you dress when you go see Willie…even if it’s a benefit.

As I walked up to the Avalon, my stomach dropped. The line of people to get in were all dressed in BLACK TIE! And I’m not talking normal black tie…I’m talking LA black tie, like dresses that cost more than my rent all year. Then I remembered that this event is a Pre-Oscar Celebration…silly me, of course this would not be a normal Willie show! These were film industry people! Luckily, I have learned to own embarrassing situations pretty well in my years.

Once inside, I took a seat in the balcony and tried to blend in (ha!) and wait for the show to begin. Luckily, I ended up sitting with really nice people, all who would be having their first Willie experience.

Once I got over the outfit issue, I started wondering if this would be a short set that would add insult to injury. I mean, this crowd couldn’t possible be a good audience, right?

WRONG! I was shocked…SHOCKED…to see people get up from their god-only-knows-how-expensive dinner tables to approach the stage for the show. And this was not just as a courtesy, it was because they were into it! There was even a couple dancing. Now of course, there were some who stayed at their tables and talked the whole time. But this is why LA works for me: these may have been “suits”, but they are suits in the arts…and they get it!

This is also a testament to the far reaching power of Willie Nelson.

It would be a smaller sect of Willie & Family than usual: he was just accompanied by his sons Lukas and Micah…and Trigger, of course.

IMG_1976He started with the classics…”Funny How Time Slips Away”…”Night Life”…”Crazy”. Within these songs are so many memories and emotions for me. Holding back tears, I embraced the moment of feeling comfort in sadness. With just a couple of guitars, a box drum, and voices connected by blood, the threesome made the songs, many decades old, feel like they were made just for us.

They played a song that Willie did with Eddie Vedder called “Just Breathe”, and, to my delight, “Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die”, which fit perfectly under the Global Green sign. The organization’s aim is to promote sustainability. I wish someone had spoken about Willie’s longstanding efforts in this area: Farm AidBioWillie

“Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain”, “Always on My Mind”, and “Seven Spanish Angels” killed me again. I don’t think that I’ve heard him do “Seven Spanish Angels” in a long time. But just when you think you can’t get any more melancholy, you reach the portion of his repetoire that includes “On the Road Again”, “Whiskey River”, and “I’ll Fly Away” to lift you back up.

Willie & Family played for nearly two hours. I think that, in that crowd, Willie Nelson probably means a lot of different things to the different people there. Humanitarian, music legend, Americana rebel…but to me he will always be those things and more. The best way I can describe it is a link to home, a key that unlocks the past.

I went home and made a breakfast taco…something uniquely Texas…and felt my first pains of homesickness in 9 months.

One of my favorite Willie shows…Hells Angels and a HUGE bag of weed.

Another good one.

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Funny How Time Slips Away: Willie Nelson & Family @ Riverbend Center, 7/1/12

You May Say I'm a Dreamer: A Perfect Circle / eMOTIVe @ The Avalon, 11/10/10

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