How long is a Willie Nelson concert?
Don’t let his age fool you. He may be the ripe old age of 80 but that doesn’t mean he’s turning in early for the night. His concerts routinely run between 90 minutes to two hours with more leaning towards the later. He’s got so much material that he wants to share that there often isn’t enough time for him to serve up all of his tasty treats.
With such a massive discography, what should I expect from Willie Nelson’s setlist?
Willie Nelson has two distinctive attributes that shine through when it comes to his live show.
1. He loves to mix it up
2. He loves to play covers
Willie Nelson is one of those ‘one man band’ type acts, and he has the full power to mix up the setlist however he sees fit. If this means trading in an early song in the setlist for something else, entirely on a whim, so be it. The artist likes to play around with the setlist, pulling out deep (by that I mean, diving into the abyss) album cuts throughout the course of his expansive set. Only the truly dedicated fans will be able to recognize the likes of “Night Life” or “Always on My Mind.” Setlists rarely have the chance to get stagnant. Nelson has approximately 80 songs that he periodically shuffles through his setlist.
Of course, a few career staples are always present. This includes his go-to opening number, “Whiskey River.” The artist also brings out “Crazy” in the overwhelming majority of his sets somewhere in the middle or earlier portions of the set. Lastly, “On the Road Again” always pops up to fan’s delight.
It is worth noting that Willie Nelson only hand selects a few songs from his deep catalog of 68 album. It is not surprising for Nelson to not play a single track from an entire decade of recorded material. Below is a sample of a handful of tracks that pop up in Willie’s setlist with fair regularity.
Still Is Still Moving to Me
Beer for My Horses
Funny How Time Slips Away
Good Hearted Woman
Help Me Make It Through the Night
Me and Paul
Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys
Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground
Jambalaya on the Bayou
Always on My Mind
On the Road Again
Georgia on My Mind
Hey Good Lookin’
Move It on Over
City of New Orleans
To All the Girls I’ve Loved Before
I Been to Georgia on a Fast Train
Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die
I’ll Fly Away
I Saw the Light
What covers should I expect to hear?
Of course, Willie Nelson loves to toy with conventions of country, pop, and rock. He has an arsenal of hundreds of covers he has played in the last decade. Recent shows have him bringing out classics as well as deeper cuts by the likes of country crooner Toby Keith, blues master Hank Williams, the grossly overlooked Billy Joe Shaver, and close friend Kris Kristofferson. Some of his most popular covers include “I Saw the Light” by Hank Williams (which often closes the set) and Billy Walker’s rendition of “Funny How Things Slip Away.”
Is Willie Nelson still touring with the Family?
Of course! The Family is one of the longest running backup bands in the history of music, and they have been a part of Nelson’s recording and live show since he began his career back in the late 50’s. They did not always go by the name, the Family (they were originally called ‘The Record Men’).
The lineup has remained relatively consistent through the decades with only two members being changed out due to circumstances. The Family lineup is currently Bobbie Nelson, Paul English, Billy English, Mickey Raphael, and Kevin Smith. Long time fans will recognize the majority of names.
How do I get access to presale tickets for Willie Nelson’s tour?
Presale tickets for his solo trek and his co-headlining tour with Alison Krauss are being handled through his fan club. Labeled Club Luck, for a yearly cost of $29.99 you can get access to ticket presales, exclusive audio & video content and other general Willie Nelson love. Venue and credit card presales seem to be in short supply on these tours so the fan club is your best bet. You can contact firstname.lastname@example.org for any questions about presale tickets, as well as fan club inquires and general comments.
Who is Nelson’s publicist and media contact?
There are a number of ways to reach Willie Nelson for media, booking, and general questions. The artist works with Mark Rothbaum & Associates for management. For publicity, you can contact Elaine Schock with Shock Ink. Shock Ink is the media and publicity company that works with Nelson, and they are also behind the Willie Nelson Peace Institute.
“Willie Nelson is a legend for a reason. He puts on a damn good live show. At 79, he’s not going to bounce around the stage for fear of putting out a hip, but his voice still squeezes out every ounce of soul and his fingers move over the chords like it was second nature. Age is no obstacle to Willie Nelson.” - Mark Runyon of ConcertTour.org
“The strength of Willie’s voice isn’t what matters anyway. It matters that he showed up. It matters that he’s 78 and still doing what he loves. I truly believe the world is positively impacted by that and is a better place for it. It matters that I spent time in the same room as Willie Nelson. The experience wasn’t so much a concert as it was a joyful celebration. A celebration of doing what you love with people you love. Telling stories.” – Ryan Mifflin of No Depression Magazine
“Nelson turned 80 in April, but he still stood straight and strong, delivering inimitable guitar lines between reedy vocal bursts — always an improvisational force, playing to an inscrutable groove in his head.” – Tad Dickens of The Times Dispatch
Willie Nelson 2013
Tour Opening Acts: Bob Weir, Paula Nelson
Started January 18 in Durham, North Carolina – Ended December 31 in Austin, Texas
Willie Nelson Tour 2012
Tour Opening Acts: Sheryl Crow, Lukas Nelson
Started January 5 in Amarillo, Texas – Ended December 31 in Austin, Texas
Willie Nelson 2011
Tour Opening Acts: Lukas Nelson
Started January 5 in Agoura Hills, California – Ended November 13th in Houston, Texas
The Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson Show (2009)
Tour Opening Acts: Norah Jones, Ray Price
Started July 1 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin – Ended August 15th in Stockton, California
A Willie Nelson Spring (2006)
Opening Acts, N/A
Started April 19 in Kahului, Hawaii – Ended May 28 in Gilford, New Hampshire
Note: Willie Nelson is the creative leader of FarmAid from 2004 to 2011. He has played every year in one of the headlining slots
Note: The Willie Nelson’s Fourth of July picnic is hosted by Nelson annually, and has been running without interruption since 1973