Weather can’t keep country great out of Durham

 Reviewed by CJ Click
Times-News correspondent

   DURHAM — One of country’s most recognizable faces is on the road again once more after taking a short break for the holiday season.
   Willie Nelson and Family made a stop at the Durham Performing Arts Center (DPAC) on Friday night as a part of its 2013 tour. There was concern that the inclement weather in the Triad would prevent some concertgoers from being able to make it out. That was not the case, however, as there were hardly any empty seats to be seen.
   Nelson’s son, Lukas, opened up for the family with his California-based rock group “Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real.” The crowd was amazed by how much son was like father in his vocals and signature guitar style.
      There was a brief intermission at 8:30, with Nelson walking onto stage at 9. Greeted by a standing ovation and audience members throwing flowers onto the stage, Nelson began by playing his hit, “Whiskey River” followed by “Still is Still Moving to Me.”
   Nelson then took a walk down memory lane by performing a medley of some of his first hits, “Funny How Time Slips Away,” “Crazy” and “Night Life.” Nelson’s little sister, Bobbi, then played an instrumental of “Down Yonder.”
   Lukas Nelson and the Promise of the Real played with the traditional band members, giving a different twist to the songs everyone loves. Using the Texas flag as a backdrop, Lukas and Willie did a duet of “Flood Down in Texas.” He continued with some more of his greatest hits such as “Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground,” “On the Road Again” and “Always on My Mind.”
   Between songs, Nelson would throw the bandana on his head out to the crowd then put on another and do it again later. He went into “Good Hearted Woman,” which he dedicated to the late Waylon Jennings. Nelson then did the title song off his new album “Let’s Face the Music and Dance,” which is set to be released on March 5.
   He also explained how not too long ago he had surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome from playing the guitar too much. While he was on rest from performing, he wrote a few songs. He played “Superman” and “You Don’t Think I’m Funny Anymore,” two humorous takes on growing old.
   The country star then did a medley of “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” and “I’ll Fly Away” followed by “Amazing Grace.” He made an interesting transition from gospel to performing “Roll Me Up,” his latest hit recorded with Jamey Johnson, Kris Kristofferson and rapper Snoop Dogg.
   Closing on “I Saw the Light,” Nelson proved that even though he is pushing 80, he doesn’t plan on slowing down anytime soon. The crowd couldn’t get enough of Nelson’s unique and legendary music. There was an energy between performer and audience that only Willie Nelson could have created.

 CJ Click is a freshman at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Teens & Twenties writer.


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