Willie Nelson. Photo by Megan Matuzak.

Willie Nelson. Photo by Megan Matuzak.

“Toto, I have a feeling we’re not in Kansas, anymore.” Howdy, Dorothy. You’re in Texas…in Pennsylvania.

Maybe it was the huge Texas flag backdrop behind Willie Nelson & Family that brought on this tumbleweed-kicking illusion—or maybe it was the neon cactus props lighting the stage for Kacey Musgraves. No, it was the cowboy hats and cowboy boots and hootin’ and hollerin’ from the locals who came out to hear some country music at The Mann Center in Philadelphia.

And country music we had—from the banjo pickin’, guitar playin’, tambourine shakin’ melodies of Kacey Musgraves, to the fiddle-playin’, dobro twangin’, pull-your-black-heart-out-of-your-cold-dead-chest singing of Alison Krauss and Union Station, to the ramblin’, gamblin’ saloon antics of the legendary Willie Nelson. There was nothing but soul, sweat, and heartfelt songwriting on display. And when I mention sweat, I mean it—Willie Nelson threw his sweat-soaked, red bandana into the crowd.

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Willie Nelson. Photo by Megan Matuzak.

Alison Krauss and Union Station took us on a getaway trip, outlaw-style, to the Appalachian Mountains with some old-timey, bluegrass country music with upright bass, dobro, fiddle, guitar, and “O’ Brother Where Art Thou” singing, courtesy of Dan Tyminski. I’ve heard a dobro before but the skill and power of Jerry Douglas threw the whole venue into a hush.

Alison Krauss and Union Station. Photo by Megan Matuzak.

Alison Kruass and Union Station. Photo by Megan Matuzak.

This was not only my first Willie Nelson experience but also my first live country music experience. Coming from the land of Deadheads and Folkies, this Texas-by-way-of-Pennsylvania happening was a bit out of my comfort zone…until I ran into my Deadhead friends.

And true to form, my deadhead friend Steve posted the Willie Nelson setlist on his facebook because that’s what Deadheads do—document every setlist, Dead or Undead, to share with their Deadhead brethren and anyone else who cares to appreciate how musical history is made after every performance. So here it is…

  • Whiskey River
  • Still Is Still Moving To Me
  • Whiskey For My Men & Beer For My Horses
  • Ain’t It Funny How Time Slips Away >Crazy For Loving You
  • The Night Life Ain’t No Good Life But It’s My Life
  • Piano Instrumental Jam (Little Sister Bobby)
  • Me & Paul
  • If You Got The Money Honey I Got The Time
  • Good Hearted Woman In Love With A Good Timing Man
  • MAMA DON’T LET YOUR BABIES GROW UP TO BE COWBOYS
  • Close To The Ground
  • On The Road Again
  • YOU WERE ALWAYS ON MY MIND
  • Instrumental Jam >On The Bayou
  • Hey Good Lookin’ What You Got Cookin’?
  • Move It On Over
  • Shoe Shine Man
  • GEORGIA
  • Don’t Treat Me This Way
  • To All The Girls I Loved Before
  • You Can’t Tell Me What To Do
  • Will The Circle Be Unbroken*
  • I’ll Fly Away*
  • I Saw The Light*

*Willie Nelson & Family joined by Alison Krauss and Union Station, and Kacey Musgraves

Photo Gallery by Megan Matuzak