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Willie & The Wheel & Elle & me

This past Saturday Elle and I drove up to Greensboro to see Willie Nelson performing with Asleep At The Wheel. She got the idea to go Thursday. I was a little hesitant because I had a lot of work to do and was still getting over a chest cold. But damn, this was Asleep At The Wheel, the great preservers of Western Swing. Seeing them is definitely a bucket list item. Crossing something off my bucket list while in the company of a pretty lady takes precedence over everything.

So a 50 year old man and a woman with two grown children went on a road trip to see one of our favorite bands (not our absolute fave by the way....that would be Hypnotic Clambake.) . We talked about how much fun it was to be doing something you mostly think of college kids doing.

It was an awesome show. The first hour or so was just Asleep At The Wheel, who doubled as opening act and backup band for Willie Nelson. They did some great Western Swing classics such as "Miles And Miles Of Texas" and "Don't Fence Me In" and also rocked out with an awesome rendition of "Hot Rod Lincoln" (complete with sound effects...the horn section did a neat impression of police sirens.)

Included in their lineup that night was 14-year-old musical prodigy Ruby Jane on fiddle. She plays a mean fiddle for any age. She was the most energetic of the bunch, constantly bobbing her head through every song. At one point she took the other fiddle players hat and put it on her own head. I thought that was plum adorable.

Willie Nelson came on stage after about an hour. There was no announcement of "Ladies And Gentlemen, Willie Nelson".He just  wandered onto the set. Even though I was mostly there to see AATW, I enjoyed his performance. I learned two things about him. One is that he is really short (or maybe everyone in AATW is really tall.) The other, more pertinent thing I learned about him is that he is a decent lead guitarist. He had a couple of spotlight solos that were pretty good, and had a nice dueling guitar thing with Ray Benson when they did "Move It On Over". I  probably shouldn't have been so surprised at his lead abilities. Yes, he is primarily a singer/songwriter, but I guess if you've been in the music biz for 50 years you pick up more than just a couple of skills.

He performed a lot of his standards such as "Crazy" and "Funny How Time Slips Away", and also did some songs he'd written recently.
One of them was called "You Don't Think I'm Funny Anymore", which included these memorable lines:

I used to to fake a heart attack
And fall down to the floor
Even I don't think that's funny anymore

He showed considerable energy for a 75 year old man. Hell, he is old enough to think of me as a young whippersnapper and seems to have twice the get up and go I do. After the concert I remarked to Elle that maybe I should start smoking pot.

On the way home we listened to CD's she'd burned, which included a lot of Asleep At The Wheel stuff. She had also burned (and we listened to) "We're Going To Be Friends". White Stripes are no Asleep At The Wheel, but there's not many better paths to happiness than listening to that song with someone you like.

It was a wonderful evening and I am quite grateful to Elle for suggesting it. And hell, she even paid for the tickets. I asked her if she wanted any money for mine and she told me to consider it an early birthday present. She's gonna spoil me rotten.

I had a lot of grading to catch up with the next couple of days (that's the main reason I'm writing about it 3 days later) but it was well worth it.

Someone has already posted a video from the concert on youtube. I'm including  it here, although there's no guarantee it's going to last.

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I suspect Willie's get-up-and-go has a lot to do with his pot smoking.