Willie Nelson’s 90th Birthday Concert with Snoop Dogg and Chris Stapleton
LOS ANGELES — Willie Nelson’s Hollywood Bowl’s 90th birthday celebrations will go down in concert history.
Long Story Short: Willie Nelson 90, the powerful two-night event, kicked off on Saturday (Nelson’s birthday) after exploding to epic proportions with groundbreaking additions to the bill.
“This is one of those weekends that people will forever talk about,” musician Lyle Lovett told USA TODAY from the red carpet backstage. “I just said ‘yes’ straight away. I was honored to be asked.”
The cast of actors – from Snoop Dogg to Chris Stapleton, The Chicks to Tom Jones – “just shows the power of Willie Nelson,” Lovett said. “There is no one like him. Everyone here has Willie Nelson in common, we’re all automatic friends because of him. The world needs this and the world needs Willie.”
Chris Stapleton to The Chics contributed to the early concert
Nelson let his music superstars carry him for the first three hours of the concert. Kris Kristofferson sang Loving Her Was Easier (Than Anything I’ll Ever Do Again) with Rosanne Cash. Cash poignantly allowed 87-year-old Kristofferson to sing the final words solo. As he walked the stage with Cash, an emotional Kristofferson greeted the audience, who gave a standing ovation.
Helen Mirren introduced fellow British artist Tom Jones, who marveled at Nelson’s vitality. “I’m 83, I have something to look forward to,” Jones said before breaking into Opportunity to Cry.
Bobby Weir sang “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain” and The Chicks played a scrappy version of “Bloody Mary Morning”. Jennifer Garner introduced Miranda Lambert, who wore a red and black jumpsuit with bold red fringes, to perform “Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys.”
Chris Stapleton performed soulful versions of “Last Thing I Needed First Thing This Morning” and “Always on My Mind”.
Before singing his song “Willie Got Me Stoned,” Jack Johnson alluded to a backstage party that may have kept Nelson off the concert stage.
“It’s a party. We’re having fun back there,” Johnson said.
Nelson performed with Snoop Dogg, George Strait and Neil Young
A beaming Nelson finally took the stage more than three hours into the concert and took a seat to join Neil Young for “Are There Any More Real Cowboys?”.
“I want to thank all the artists for helping to celebrate what we celebrate,” Nelson joked after the song ended.
He sang two songs with country legend George Strait — “Sing One With Willie” and “Poncho and Lefty” — before bringing his friend Snoop Dogg on stage.
“Hey Snoop, come over here and help me roll one up,” Nelson said as the rapper, carrying a gold mic, took a seat next to him to sing “Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die.” Snoop Dogg suggested singing the song “in the key of smoke”.
Nelson didn’t shy away from his birthday. After playing an upbeat rendition of his classic “On the Road Again,” Nelson began serenading himself from the stage with “Happy Birthday to Me.”
The celebrant continued the humor with his latest song, the Mac Davis classic, “Hard to Be Humble,” with the lyrics, “I can’t wait to look in the mirror because I look better every day.”
Nelson still had the energy to toss his cowboy hat energetically to the crowd during the closing standing ovation. “I’ll see you tomorrow night,” he said.
Who else is performing on Willie Nelson’s birthday weekend?
Other artists at the weekend birthday concerts include Beck, Billy Strings, Booker T. Jones, Buddy Cannon, Charley Crockett, Daniel Lanois, Dave Matthews, Dwight Yoakam, Edie Brickell, Emmylou Harris, Gary Clark Jr., Leon Bridges, Lily Meola, Lukas Nelson, Margo Price, Norah Jones, Orville Peck, Particle Kid, Rodney Crowell, Rosanne Cash, Sheryl Crow, Stephen Stills, Sturgill Simpson, The Avett Brothers, The Lumineers, Tyler Childers and Ziggy Marley.
“We have compiled a thorough list of Willie’s close friends and family of musicians with whom Willie has recorded or toured,” said Executive Producer Keith Wortman. “And that happens to be a very long list.”
Want more from Willie? Continue reading:
All in the family:Brings his sons and daughters to the Willie Nelson Family album for the first time.
2023 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Nominees:George Michael, Missy Elliott and Willie Nelson top the list
Going Nowhere:Willie Nelson declares he’s ‘not dead yet’