Willie Nelson - SDSU Open Air Theater - 7/12/07
There are few performers as iconic as Willie Nelson. From the long braid and cowboy hat, to the battered old guitar hanging by the red white and blue strap, and that VOICE. Man , there is only one WILLIE NELSON and I got to photograph him up close tonight.
Let me go back to the beginning, Willie Nelson along with the 40 Points Band came to the San Diego State University Open Air theater tonight. The last time I saw Willie was many many years ago when he opened the show for Bob Dylan at the El Ray Theater in Los Angeles. That was a long time ago, and a very different type of show. Tonight was all about Willie, and his family. I arrived on campus ad made my way to the will call window. Waiting for me was a blue stripped wristband with www.willienelson.com printed on it and the word photo with the date hand written on the wristband. No ticket ? Oh Oh.. This was the first time that I have ever shot a band where I wasn't given a ticket into the venue. I was a little worried, but as I walked to the entrance, I saw a gate that was for pass holders. That looked promising, so thats where I went. I was ask to wait by security who went to get the Live Nation representative who would escort me into the venue and into the photo pit. Welcome to corporate America Rock and roll. Here are the rules. Two songs. Don't be an ass.
I can live with that.
First up was the 40 Points Band. The band includes LUKAS and MICAH Nelson. They are also part of Willies band, but this is their project.
After a 15 minute break, Willie walked out from the wings and wearing all black, including the hat, put on his guitar strap and picked up his guitar.
The crowd went nuts. This was an older group, but they love this man. There were a lot of cowboy hats in all colors in attendance, from the big old stetson, to fashionable red ladies cowboy hats. But this crowd was here for one thing only, to hear the man. Willie stalked around the stage, pointing to the crowd, throwing up a peace sign, generally playing to the crowd.
My two songs up front seemed to fly by. But thats the breaks, there were a lot of folks who would have paid a ton to trade spaces with me if only for a minute.
Those who wanted to, could purchase the show after it was all over, but in a little twist, they don't give it out on CDs, but on a usb drive.
One last look down on the stage.