Willie Nelson, Comerica Theatre, 3/12/12

Willie Nelson and Family Comerica Theatre Monday, March 12

See the full Willie Nelson slideshow here.

It was a quarter after eight when the Red-Headed Stranger took the stage at Comerica Theatre last night. He hadn't even played a note, but he crowd of retirees stood in applause beside younger admirers of the man who is not so red-headed these days, and was certainly no stranger to the cheering audience. The younger folk (who helped older patrons down the stairs to their seats) shouted encouragement throughout the night, yelling things like, "Hell Yeah Willie," and, "Give it to 'em Willie!" Willie gave it to everybody, young and old.

Wasted no time grabbing 'Trigger,' his legendary and battered Martin guitar, decked out in his expected black T-shirt, black jeans, bandana, and side-braided ponytails, he gave a quick wave to the crowd and he began singing the familiar lyrics to his classic, "Whiskey River," from his album, Shotgun Willie (1973). Willie was backed by a six-piece band, including his very talented son Lukas on guitar, and his sister, Bobbi on piano. The crowd sang the words somberly and clapped along as Willie took some time to find the rhythm with the somewhat flawed acoustics set up for him last night. As the night progressed, he found the microphone sweet-spot, and his voice sounded much more like the Willie that I have heard so many times from the jukeboxes I've poured dollars into over the years.

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Blake Moscatello