The Montgomery Performing Arts Centre recently featured one of the country's greatest songwriters and artists of our time, Willie Nelson, on Sunday, January 17th. The show started at 7:30 PM and featured his touring "family" and some of his true family including his sister Bobbie Nelson, and son Lukas Nelson. His son's band 'Lukas Nelson and the Promise of the Real' started off the show with an energetic country rock set that was heavily influenced with the blues and featured an extensive and impressive drum/percussion solo.
During the intermission, attendees had an opportunity to peruse the three-story Performing Arts Centre, and enjoy the many concessions and merchandise that were available. Located in the Renaissance Hotel in downtown Montgomery, this concert hall features an 1,800 seating capacity and easy access to local dining and nightlife. It provides an intimate setting, and is camera friendly. There is also convenient access to an outside smoking patio for patrons during intermission that features reasonably priced drink carts.
After the stage was set for the main event, the sold-out theatre was patiently awaiting the main act. Willie Nelson, although an icon, is no spring chicken-this 76 year old man has been playing music for over six decades and still plays over 200 shows a year. His famous tour bus, the Honeysuckle Rose, is run on his homemade bio-diesel and has taken him all over the country. His performance is nothing short of extraordinary, and his set included some of the better known songs of his career, including "Mama's Don't Let Your Babies..", "Crazy", "Whiskey for My Men..", and Ray Charles' "Georgia". He also played a number of Hank Williams Sr. songs, including "Hey Good Lookin' ", and a popularized spiritual "I Saw the Light" which catered to the history of the city.
He unified the generation gap in the audience in song, and had everyone singing and clapping along with him. Toward the end of the show he graciously greeted the fans that were packed against the stage, and walked end to end shaking hands, taking pictures, and signing autographs. He is truly a magnificent artist, and will remain an icon.