If I had the slightest clue as to who Shannon Sweeney was, I might be inclined to be offended. But I’m sure there are some joe schmoes out there who think Babe Ruth is overrated, so…


I heard Willie in concert a bunch over the years, but I quit going because he became too hard to enjoy. He talked a lot of the lyrics rather than sing them, and his phrasing was in his head but was almost never with the beat or with his band. He put on a great concert back in the day because he was all music and no patter, but time robbed him of his greatness in concert.


You’re not wrong, Jim. Some nights he’s still into it, others he’s just phoning it in, more often the latter in the last handful of shows in the last few years I’ve seen. He’s also old as shit. His studio work has been really cool, though.

I do know now, since I was made aware of this person and had to look up why I should remotely care what she says, that she is a 20-something RTF grad from UT who does production work for some Austin morning sports show.

She decided to drop this nugget on his 88th birthday. Doesn’t smell like an attention grab at all.

No doubt about his continuing greatness in the studio. I was talking only about live concerts.

I only saw him first in the last five years, at the rodeo. I went out of my way to see him, because for some reason I never had. I’ve seen him since on Austin City Limits, which is reasonably close to live. I’m always amazed when I see him on tv and when I saw him live at his guitar, both his musical knowledge–he’s really more of a jazz player than anything else–and his skill. I like his voice equally well, and am surprised that someone so aged and damaged can sing at all, much less well. Aging Nelson reminds me most of aging Louis Armstrong: an incredible contribution to his genre, unmatched musical knowledge, and a performance that evokes both bittersweet nostalgia and its own mastery. I got no complaints for what I’ve seen.


I saw Willie at the Houston Rodeo, a number of years back, and it was simply an awful experience. He was so stoned he couldn’t play or sing. I would have given anything for him to have simply talked the lyrics, but he couldn’t remember any of them. It was a complete mess. Willie is still a legend, but his live shows have been hit or miss for a few decades now. Mostly miss in more recent years.

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I’m right there with you. First time I saw him perform was in the early '90s. The most recent time was three years ago. Loved each performance.

Well, it seems as if I have set off a controversy. Just telling you what I thought of the last few concerts I heard. Not a small sample size either, but it has been a few years since I have been to one.

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I think it’s fair to say his performances are uneven in his latter years. Maybe I’ve been lucky with the ones I’ve attended.

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Oh, I think this discussion simply underscores that caveat emptor has applied to Willie’s live performances for a while.

If he’s into it, sublime. If not …

I understand he’s given up marijuana for his lungs. That may have improved things some.

given up smoking marijuana, mostly, per the interview I saw yesterday

Oddly that makes me feel better. A world without Willie stoned just isn’t right.

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