Rain fell as the gates opened, but it only added more character to a beautiful closing night for the Celebrate Brooklyn summer season with Willie Nelson and Old Crow Medicine Show. Cowboy boots and bolo ties cooly integrated into the regular Prospect Park scene, and OCMS immediately struck the right tone, blending Southern graciousness we might expect of Grand Ole Opry inductees with the punk energy of a Nashville hootenanny. Their set visited different highlights from a long career (including pop hits like “Cocaine Habit” and “Wagon Wheel”), but bluegrass remained king, and OCMS was at its finest when they cut loose and let the the banjo sing center-stage. Willie Nelson and his band favored a more laid-back approach, casually meandering through a panoramic and unrivaled song catalog that touched upon fan favorites (“Whiskey River, “On The Road Again”) and some of his most celebrated cover songs (“Crazy”, “Georgia on My Mind”). Willie’s loose and understated guitar playing was a marvel to behold (I’m often reminded that Miles Davis was a die-hard and outspoken fan), and the set ended with the 83-year old’s new anthem of purpose: 2012’s “Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die.” Yes, indeed, Willie. Yes, indeed.
DMNDR’s Jason Wien was on-site to catch some of the stardust with his camera.
Write-up by: Benham Jones