Yesterday Seattle hosted two iconic musicians in two very different genres.
On the left side of the city, you had the the mighty mighty Metallica. On the Mt. Rushmore of metal groups, Metallica would be the Abraham Lincoln (with Black Sabbath=Thomas Jefferson, Led Zeppelin=George Washington, and Guns N’ Roses=Teddy Roosevelt). No metal band has sold more records, packed more venues, and kicked more ass than Metallica. I have personally seen them 5 times and each time they kill it. They play their past stuff, some current stuff, and a few covers, and drive their sound in you whether you like it or not. Always high energy!
And on the right side of the city, you have Willie Nelson. On the Mt. Rushmore of country acts, Willie would be Thomas Jefferson (with Hank Williams Sr=George Washington, Johnny Cash=Abraham Lincoln, and Garth Brooks=Teddy Roosevelt). Willie is beloved to this day by young and old alike. From his unique way of paying taxes, from his ahead-of-his-time usage of pot, or from his ability to marry and remarry multiple times (on wife #4), Willie is a man of many talents. Whether you are a country fan or not, Willie has transcended the genre and is respected by all musicians for his brilliant guitar playing, his voice, and his true love for performing.
So which one did I attend yesterday?
Well, if you asked me that 10 years ago, there would be no contest. Metallica kicks ass and Willie is just some old guy who’s music I used to hate when my parents would cram it down my throat in the 70’s and 80’s. If you told me I would be going to the Willie Nelson concert, I would have stabbed you with a knife, buried your body in a shallow grave, TP your house, crank called your family, invent a time machine, and do the entire thing all over again.
But, ten years later, I ended up at Willie.
And it was fantastic.
This was the first country concert I ever went to. The entire atmosphere reminded me of a state fair; a lot of bald eagle shirts, red bandanas, and women wearing American flag dresses. But it was a very relaxing environment as well. It was outside, so you just brought a towel, staked your claim on a small hill, laid back and relaxed.
The actual performance was great as well. Willie played for 2 hours (playlist below):
Still Is Still Moving to Me
Beer for My Horses (Toby Keith cover)
Good Hearted Woman (Waylon Jennings cover)
Funny How Time Slips Away
If You’ve Got the Money, I’ve Got the Time (Lefty Frizzell cover)
Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys (Ed Bruce cover)
Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground
On the Road Again
Always on My Mind (Brenda Lee cover)
Shoeshine Man (Tom T. Hall cover)
Jambalaya (On the Bayou) (Hank Williams cover)
Hey Good Lookin’ (Hank Williams cover)
Move It On Over (Hank Williams cover)
I Been to Georgia on a Fast Train (Billy Joe Shaver cover)
It’s All Going to Pot (Willie Nelson & Merle Haggard cover)
Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die
Will the Circle Be Unbroken? ([traditional] cover)
I’ll Fly Away
I Saw the Light (Hank Williams cover)
Still Not Dead
The weird thing is that I knew almost all of these songs!!! Amazing how we can remember things from our childhood. I actually sang along with over half the songs. Sort of eerie if you ask me.
Willie is 84 and can still play. Sure, he cut some of the higher notes short, but he is 84. Great to see a living legend play at least one time.
So do I regret missing Metallica? Sure. I have read that once again, they kicked ass. No one has topped their live show in my experience. Even haters respect their performance.
But I have seen it before. And I’m old. So a relaxing evening lying in the grass with people wearing jorts, cut-off tees, while Willie is wailing in the background sounds alright by me.