Willie Nelson and Family

Live at the Riverside Theater 3/15/2011
by Jennifer Bronenkant
Posted: Mar 2011
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Willie Nelson - photo by Jennifer Bronenkant

Willie Nelson - photo by Jennifer Bronenkant

Willie Nelson played preacher man to a room full of believers with a show that felt like an old fashioned tent revival meeting. The enthusiastic crowd and Nelson seemed to feed off of each other’s energy to bring the mood at the Riverside Theater on Tuesday night to a fever pitch.

Opening the show with his standard “Whiskey River” and moving quickly on to “Still Is Still Moving To Me” and a medley of hits, Nelson had the crowd with his first note. Although the crowd remained seated during most of the performance, they rose to their feet in enthusiastic applause after every number.

Nelson treated fans to old favorites including “Ain’t It Funny How Time Slips Away”, “Mamma’s Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys”, “On The Road Again” and “Always On My Mind”. He introduced “Good Hearted Woman” as one for Waylon. Of course, he got a huge response with this famous line “And at the airport in Milwaukee, they refused to let us board the plane at all” during “Me And Paul”. Relatively new songs “Superman” and “You Don’t Think I’m Funny Anymore” were as well received as his classics.

Along with his own music, Nelson covered other greats such as Hank Williams’ “Jambalaya” and “Hey, Good Looking”, Kris Kristofferson’s “Help Me Make It Through The Night” and “Me And Bobby McGee”, and Ray Charles’ “Georgia On My Mind”.

Certainly, no tent revival would be complete without some good old fashioned spirituals. The congregational sing-along was in full force for “I’ll Fly Away” and “Let The Circle Be Unbroken”. Nelson closed the meeting with “I Saw The Light” then spent several minutes signing autographs and shaking hands of his fans before ending the night and leaving all who attended feeling revived but still wanting more.

Opening for Nelson was Illinois native Brett Eldredge, an up and coming country singer-songwriter best known for his sentimental single “Raymond”. He performed a laid back half hour set backed by two guitarists and a percussionist.  Eldredge captured the audience’s attention like a main act instead of the opener. I look forward to hearing more from this talented artist in the years to come.

Willie Nelson Set List:
Whiskey River
Still Is Still Moving To Me
Beer For My Horses
Shoeshine Man
Funny How Time Slips Away
Night Life
Down Yonder
Me And Paul
If You’ve Got The Money I’ve Got The Time
Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain
Good Hearted Woman
Help Me Make It Through The Night
Me and Bobby McGee
Georgia On My Mind
Mamma’s Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys
Angel Flying Too Close To The Ground
On The Road Again
Always On My Mind
Let The Circle Be Unbroken/I’ll Fly Away
You Don’t Think I’m Funny Anymore
Bloody Mary Morning
Jambalaya (On The Bayou)
Hey, Good Looking
I Gotta Get Drunk
I Never Cared For You
I Saw The Light