Observations On the Willie Nelson Concert

By Docrates

Least of the holy and part-time observer for Louisville Music News

I was so full of enthusiasm for the Willie Nelson concert that being scanned by some sort of magnetic detector didn't even blow my natural high. Inside Louisville Gardens I beheld a sparse crowd of several hundred mostly-"hippie"-appearing men, women and children either waiting for Willie or Marlo Tackett, a very skilled opening act from Pikeville, Ky. that featured a beautiful woman in a red sequined dress, or even to hear the words of Gatewood Galbraith, the pro-marijuana gubernatorial candidate for whom the concert was given.

My friends and I sat to the right of the stage with a perfect view of both the backstage door and the outside doors leading to it. We saw it all. I spotted my friend Rich Williams working as a security man for Gatewood. I took this as a good sign and went to speak with Ritchie, who'd spent the day with Willie and Gatewood, and he said to me of Willie, "He's just like us bro ... plain people." I took this as a good sign and returned to my seat to listen to the beautiful woman in the red dress backed by Marlo Tackett's band of country hot-lickers.

Marlo took the stage and had the crowd tapping their feet through several hot country-rock tunes. Then he told us he was in Louisville for Gatewood and for hemp as a cash crop for Kentucky's farmers. As he spoke I was looking at the large white banners strung across the exits, "HEMP -- America's Premier Energy Resource and It's A Renewable," and at that moment I realized just how much money (billions) would come into the state from marketing hemp oil as a fuel for our cars.

I was stirred from my dreams of big bucks in the hemp-oil business by my "podnuh" Hugh Hill calling me to the backstage area. When I got there the "Country Cat" laid a backstage pass on me. Talk about a good sign ...

Gatewood was introduced and he launched into pastoral rhetoric rather than political -- he took up a collection.

The crowd by now was probably over a thousand, and we were told the show might not proceed unless $6500 cash was raised. After the unpleasantness of this unexpectedness and some politicking it was time for Willie. And in flashes of red and blue lighting, the man Gatewood said "represents what America is all about" flowed over the garden crowd like a "Whiskey River," his opener. Willie sang of Spanish angels and crying in the rain and women he'd loved before and all the other great things he's been singing for us for years. Before he left the stage he told the crowd, "Willie and Gatewood."

Willie had seen Gatewood on the Dick Cavett Show and wanted to meet him, with an eye toward helping him in some way with his campaign. The benefit concert at the "Gardens" was the result, and I was there and now I'm not.