Celebrating Willie Nelson’s 90th birthday in Los Angeles is for the concert history books.
“Long Story Short: Willie Nelson’s 90,” the power-packed two-night event at the Hollywood Bowl on April 29 (Nelson’s actual birthday) and April 30, exploded to epic proportions with sporadic extras.
“This is one of those weekends that people will talk about forever,” musician Lyle Lovett told USA TODAY from the red carpet backstage at the Hollywood Bowl before the concert began on Saturday. “I got the word, and I said, Just tell me where. I was honored. I flew in from Austin on the Southwest and everyone was going to the concert. It was a party.”
The concert program has been expanded.
“It’s getting bigger and bigger at the moment,” says Keith Wortman, executive producer of the concert. “And if anyone deserves this, it’s the first Willie Boy.”
Nelson and his team had been looking forward to the party date since the music legend’s 85th birthday, and they finally made it to Los Angeles’ Hollywood Bowl.
“We thought this iconic venue would be really cool,” says Wortman, who spoke to USA TODAY Thursday after watching Nelson rehearse a segment on stage with guitarist Keith Richards.
“These two old friends play tunes together, and that’s what makes Willy the happiest,” says Wortman. “This is how he celebrates his birthday, all his friends and family come to play together.”
Who plays at Willie Nelson’s 90th birthday party?
The roster is staggering, with eclectic acts from Snoop Dogg to Shooter Jennings set to take to the stage to honor Nelson, who is in his seventh decade of his famous music career.
“We put together a thoughtful list of all of Willie’s close friends and family of musicians he’s either recorded with or toured with,” says Wortman. “And that’s a pretty big list.”
Among them are Beck, Billy Stranges, Bobby Weir, Booker T. Jones, Buddy Cannon, Charlie Crockett, Chris Stapleton, Daniel Lanois, Dave Matthews, Dwight Yoakam, Eddie Brickell, Emmylou Harris, Gary Clark Jr., George Strait, Jack Johnson, Kris Kristofferson Leon Bridges, Lily Meola, Lucas Nelson, Lyle Lovett, Margo Price, Miranda Lambert, Neil Young, Norah Jones, Orville Peck, The Particle Kid, Rodney Crowell, Rosanne Cash, Sheryl Crow, Stephen Stills, Sturgill Simpson, The Avet Brothers, The Chicks, The Lumineers, Tom Jones, Tyler Childers and Ziggy Marley.
What other celebrities will honor Willie Nelson?
Due to the Hollywood location, stars like Chelsea Handler, Ethan Hawke, Gabriel Iglesias, Helen Mirren, Jennifer Garner, Owen Wilson, and Woody Harrelson will serve as presenters.
The birthday celebration will be singing all night and expect many duets, trios and multi-artist jams.
“And we have more surprises up our sleeves that we’ll keep rolling our sleeves until they happen at the party,” Wortman says.
It’s already the hottest ticket in town (single tickets start at $458 on Stubhub) and the musical event promises to be talked about for many Willie Nelson birthdays to come.
“This is really shaping up to be a historic musical event,” says Wortman. “I’m not sure if we’ll make a cake on stage, but there will be a cake somewhere.”
Do you want more Willie? Read on:
Everyone in the family:He brought his sons and daughters for the first time on the Willie Nelson Family album
Rock & Roll Hall of Fame 2023 nominees:Topping the list are George Michael, Missy Elliott and Willie Nelson
I will not go anywhere:Willie Nelson Declares He’s ‘Not Dead’
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