The list of legends that landed at The Venue At Horseshoe Casino continues to grow now that Willie Nelson graced the Hammond hot spot, and after throwing down over 20 tunes with his four piece family band, he more than lived up to such a revered reputation. Even at 82-years-old, the braided singer/songwriter/guitarist is just as much a country outlaw as he is a standards crooner, while remaining equally committed to pro-pot activism as praising God.
Nelson’s influence and longevity stretches well beyond the countless benchmarks from yesteryear and continues to be propelled by a voracious amount of new material.
Truly there will never be another “Shotgun Willie,” as he demonstrated time and time again throughout a show ripe with oldies but equally populated with key covers and new tunes. From the first category, Nelson and company nailed “Whiskey River,” “Funny How Time Slips Away,” “On The Road Again,” “Crazy” and all the other biggies like a well-oiled machine, but considering the set list shuffles significantly every night, even such tried and true material never sounded stale.
The Texas treasure also made sure to tip his hat at the greats who’ve influenced him along the way, putting an unmistakable stamp on everything from Waylon Jennings’ “Good Hearted Woman” to Ray Charles’ “Georgia On My Mind” and Hank Williams “I Saw The Light.” Clearly, he’s right towards the top of that camp when it comes to influence and longevity, which stretches well beyond the countless benchmarks from yesteryear and continues to be propelled by a voracious amount of new material.
This decade alone, the octogenarian thus far released an astounding eight albums, including the brand new collaborative project “Django & Jimmie” with fellow trailblazer Merle Haggard. In fact, the comical but clever “It’s All Going To Pot” earned just as many cheers as the classics from the sold out audience, though those who missed it all the first time around thankfully have another opportunity when Nelson returns to Chicago on Saturday, September 19 to headline the 30th anniversary of Farm Aid (www.farmaid.org).
Upcoming concert highlights at The Venue At Horseshoe Casino include Festival Of Praise starring Fred Hammond, Donnie McClurkin and many more (for two shows) on Saturday, November 21; Donny & Marie Osmond on Friday, November 27; Heart on Sunday, December 6 and Styx on Friday, December 11. For additional details, visit www.thevenuechicago.com and www.ticketmaster.com.