Neil Younger and Snoop Dogg joined Willie Nelson for a ninetieth birthday live performance : NPR

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FILE – Willie Nelson performs on the Producers & Engineers Wing twelfth Annual Grammy Week Celebration on the Village Studio in Los Angeles, on Feb. 6, 2019.

Richard Shotwell/Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP


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Richard Shotwell/Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP


FILE – Willie Nelson performs on the Producers & Engineers Wing twelfth Annual Grammy Week Celebration on the Village Studio in Los Angeles, on Feb. 6, 2019.

Richard Shotwell/Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP

LOS ANGELES — “Are there any extra actual cowboys?” Neil Younger sang Saturday night time on the Hollywood Bowl on a uncommon night when he was neither the headliner nor, at age 77, even near the oldest artist on the invoice.

Offering an immediate reply, Willie Nelson, sporting a cowboy hat and red-white-and-blue guitar strap, slowly strolled on to the stage on his ninetieth birthday, bringing the gang of greater than 17,000 to its toes.

Nelson sat in a chair — one of many few onstage concessions he is made to age — and joined Younger for the remainder of their 1985 duet, “Are There Any Extra Actual Cowboys?”

“I wish to thank all of the artists who got here out tonight to assist have fun no matter it’s we’re celebrating,” stated Nelson, feigning senility and getting fun.

The second got here three hours into the primary of a two-night celebration of the nation legend on the open-air Los Angeles amphitheater, the place generations of stars sang his songs in tribute.

“As a child rising up in Texas, it appeared like there was nothing greater than Willie Nelson,” stated Owen Wilson, one of many night’s emcees together with Helen Mirren, Ethan Hawke and Jennifer Garner. “And looking on the Hollywood Bowl tonight, it nonetheless looks like there’s nothing greater than Willie Nelson.”

After Younger, Nelson introduced out George Strait, a rustic famous person of the next technology, for his or her self-referential duet, “Sing One With Willie,” adopted by the Willie perennial, “Pancho and Lefty,” with Strait singing the half as soon as performed by the late Merle Haggard.

Nelson then shouted, “Come out and roll one with me Snoop!”

Strutting out got here rapper Snoop Dogg, sitting subsequent to Nelson as they launched into their stoner anthem, “Roll Me Up and Smoke Me After I Die.” Maybe fittingly, every appeared to neglect the phrases at instances. The 2 associates seemed too comfortable to care.

“Anyone make some noise for the legend Mr. Willie Nelson!” Snoop shouted mid-song.

The parade of companions illustrated one of many night time’s themes: Willie brings folks collectively.

“All the sudden, it did not matter should you have been a hillbilly or a hippie, everybody was a Willie Nelson fan,” Wilson stated of Nelson’s late-blooming emergence as a singing famous person when he left Nashville, Tennessee, and returned to his native Texas within the Nineteen Seventies. “Even the Dalai Lama is a Willie Nelson fan. It is true.”

The group, which ranged from young children to seniors, illustrated the purpose. The stands have been dotted with cowboy hats whereas hippies danced within the aisles and weed smoke wafted within the air.

Miranda Lambert thrilled them with a rousing, sing-along model of “Mammas Do not Let Your Infants Develop As much as Be Cowboys,” Nelson’s 1978 hit with Waylon Jennings. The Chicks blazed by means of 1970’s “Bloody Mary Morning” on the identical break-neck tempo that Willie and his Household Band performed it stay of their prime.

Nelson has outlived practically each member of that band, which backed him for many years of fixed touring and recording. His little sister and piano participant, Bobbie Nelson, died final 12 months. She obtained her personal tribute from Norah Jones, who banged the keys by means of the youthful Nelson’s saloon-style solo track, “Down Yonder,” from Willie Nelson’s definitive 1975 album, “Pink Headed Stranger.”

Whereas most of the girls who took the stage performed rousing rockers, many of the males went in for quiet emotion.

Chris Stapleton stored his guitar at his aspect by means of a gentle, reflective rendition of “At all times on My Thoughts,” Nelson’s largest solo hit of the Nineteen Eighties. Nelson’s son Lukas sang “Angel Flying Too Near The Floor” alone along with his acoustic guitar, his voice a useless ringer for his dad’s.

One other surviving member of the Household Band, harmonica grasp Mickey Raphael, was a part of the weekend’s home band, led by Don Was, which backed nearly everybody.

Nelson additionally has outlived most of his basic collaborators. However an important one, his 86-year-old Highwaymen bandmate Kris Kristofferson, made it to the stage to affix Rosanne Money, the daughter of one other Highwayman: Johnny Money.

Rosanne Money was singing Nelson’s “Loving Her Was Simpler (Than Something I will Ever Do Once more)” when Kristofferson, who wrote the track, got here out and harmonized together with her on the choruses.

Nelson’s musical variety was one other night theme.

“He blends and bends genres,” Mirren stated from the stage. “His timing and classes are his personal.”

Leon Bridges’ “Night time Life” confirmed off Nelson’s affinity for the blues, as did Jones’ jazzy journey by means of “Humorous How Time Slips Away” from 1961, when Nelson was recognized primarily as a songwriter of hits for others.

Ziggy Marley sang “Nonetheless Is Nonetheless Transferring To Me,” which Nelson recorded in 1993 and later sang with Toots and the Maytals in considered one of his occasional forays into reggae. Marley shouted “Wee-lay!” in his Jamaican accent throughout the track.

Sunday’s night time present will characteristic a complete completely different vary of acts together with Dave Matthews, Sheryl Crow and Emmylou Harris.

Younger first took the stage along with his early collaborator Stephen Stills. The pair performed a revved up model of “For What It is Value,” swapping guitar solos on the basic hit they made as members of Buffalo Springfield in 1966.

Nelson introduced out all of the night’s artists to affix him for the Carter Household’s 1935 track, “Will the Circle Be Unbroken?” a longtime stay favourite of his and the basic closing track for all of nation music.

It was clearly meant to be the top, as Hawke took the mic and began to thank everybody for coming.

However the 90-year-old wasn’t able to cease. He interrupted and broke into Mac Davis’ “It is Arduous to Be Humble,” which Nelson and his sons recorded in 2019.

It was a humorous alternative for a ultimate track, however its refrain was an ideal comedian coda for a person who had been drowned in adoration all night time:

“To know me is to like me, I should be a hell of a person. Oh lord, it is laborious to be humble. However I am doing the very best that I can.”

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