Five thoughts on Willie Nelson’s August 13 performance at the Smith Center

An Evening With Willie Nelson & Family” at Reynolds Hall in Smith Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Las Vegas on Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2013.
Photo: Tom Donoghue/
Jason Harris

1. The octogenarian Nelson put more heart, energy and passion into his show than most of the acts I’ve seen in the last year. With a guitar strapped across his shoulder for more than 90 minutes, this was a master class in performance.

2. I’ve never seen anyone play like Nelson, who used a nylon-stringed acoustic guitar as his weapon of choice. Solos were enthralling yet sparse, with no wasted notes. It was pure twangy joy.

3. Highlights included many covers—Hoagy Carmichael’s “Georgia on My Mind,” Hank Williams’ “Jambalaya (On The Bayou)” and a very sweet rendition of “Good Hearted Woman,” which was dedicated to Nelson’s co-writer on the song, Waylon Jennings.

4. Nelson struck a rapturous mood with his closing gospel 3-pack: “I’ll Fly Away,” the new Nelson-penned tune “Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die” and closer “I Saw The Light.”

5.After the show, Nelson shook any and every hand in the front row and walked the length of the stage, signing any items fans presented to him—posters, hats, bandanas. This man has earned every fan he has and works his ass off to keep them.

Top of Story