Sunday, November 11, 2007


Sunday, November 4, 2007

On a Sunday night in early November we had the pleasure of attending a Willie Nelson concert right here in Tupelo.

The show was at the BancorpSouth Arena, a nice medium-size concert venue in downtown Tupelo (about 5 minutes from our house) with seating for over 9000.

At 74 years old, Willie still sounded great, as did his trusty trademark beat-up acoustic guitar Trigger, with its big hole worn through the body from so many years of being strummed. For Rob especially, Willie's guitar-playing was the highlight of the show. While by no means a master of improvisation, Willie has such a sweet signature guitar sound. He also has quite a catalog of good songs, especially from the peak of his career in the mid-70s, when he re-defined alternative country with his distinctive blend of country, Western swing, jazz, folk, and blues.

Willie's always been famous for his outlaw image, from his heyday of defying the music industry establishment in the 70s with his hippie-bandana look, his anti-mainstream sound, and his occasional lyrics about smoking marijuana. These days he still sports the bandana, but he glossed over any of the "offensive" lyrics for the relatively conservative Sunday night Tupelo crowd.

The Texas state flag towered behind Willie throughout the concert, just as a reminder of how hung up Texans are about showing their Texas pride.

Emily and Carley bask in the afterglow of Willie.

The concert was a cause for celebration among our friends and us - not because we're huge Willie Nelson fans, though the man is a living legend that none of us had had the opportunity to see before. The real cause for celebration was that, for the first time since we moved to Tupelo a year-and-a-half ago, we finally got to see a concert here in town! Despite the fact that Tupelo has in the past hosted bands such as the Allman Brothers, Widespread Panic and Bob Dylan, it's been a long dry spell for good music around these parts. The only acts that have played the arena since we moved here are Nickelback (bubblegum-metal...gag!) and a handful of Christian rock bands. As a result, we've been making roadtrips up to 2-1/2 hours long to places like Oxford, Memphis, Huntsville and Birmingham to see good music.

In honor of the big event, we had a small pre-show backyard party at our house on Sunday afternoon before the concert. Among other guests were our good friends Emily (with Lucas), Josh and Bonnie.

The main dish was a big ol' pot of "Willie Chili" and a pan of jalapeño cornbread.

We even brought our TV outside from the living room so we could watch the big Colts-Patriots game while enjoying the fantastic fall weather. (Yes, that's right. We have a cable hook-up in the backyard!)

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