I’m behind on posting but a couple of weeks ago I went back to the corporate amphitheatre in Charlotte to see the Outlaw Music Fest featuring Willie Nelson,
Sturgill Simpson, Gov’t Mule, and Margo Price.
Of these the one I listen to the most by far is Margo Price so I was sure to get there on time, and to eat before hand as I re-learned last time at the Alanis Morisette concert that the food at this place is both very expensive and terrible. This time there was a vaccination check before going in that wasn’t honestly kind of a joke. I showed them my card but they didn’t ID me to see if I was the person on the card, I could have had anyone’s card. This did not make me feel any safer than if there were no vaccination check. We may all be calculating the risk of doing literally anything for a long time.
Parking is never easy at this place but it is free. So after parking , trekking to the gates, going through the five second vaccination check, and the far more thorough bag check, we made it to the lawn area just in time to see Margo come out. Her openers set had a lot of songs from her most recent album That’s How Rumors Get Started but included one of my personal favorite old songs Tennessee Song. I wasn’t sure if she’d play it since this was the first time I’d seen her outside of Tennessee but she didn’t disappoint. She also added a cover of Lesley Gore’s You Don’t Own Me. The crowd was still filling in but she got a decent response to be the very first act to play.
Next up was Gov’t Mule, a band I’ve definitely seen at a music festival before but had no memory of. They seemed to be about 50% louder than Margo Price volume wise. The crowd got pretty packed by the time they made it to the stage. They had some good musicianship and you can’t go wrong with guitar solos. That seems to be the main point of the band, guitar solos. Their set flew by despite me not know any of their songs and then it … kept going. They left and then came back and said they had some extra time. Uh oh, I’ve been to enough concerts to know what the fake encore looks like and this did not seem like a fake encore. It truly seemed like they finished and when they left the stage someone caught them and said hey guys we need to you play some more. And they picked right back up no problem and were just as good as the planned part of the set.
After Gov’t Mule the stage was cleared and then it just sat empty for quite a while. Now I knew something was off for sure. Given Willie Nelson’s age and the fact that his last show I had tickets to in Greenville got canceled due to health reasons pre-corona I was worried he was going to have to cancel last minute. But I was wrong there. Someone popped on stage and let the crowd know that Sturgill Simpson was the one dropping off due to voice issue. This news was met with boos and an unhappy crowd, some even left, many others would leave very early into Willie Nelson’s set. Sturgill was clearly the big draw for a lot of people. This was disappointing.
Soon though Willie Nelson and Family came out, starting early thankfully so there wasn’t even more dead time waiting for Sturgill’s set time to be over. He sat on stool next to his son Micah and ripped off classic song after classic song, taking very little time off in between, although every few songs he’d let Micah do one. Micah’s songs were actually pretty decent so this worked smoothly. Willie’s guitar was turned up way way too loud when they first came out but this was remedied after a few songs. Obviously this wasn’t Willie in his prime but he still did a great job and could still play well. It’s always cool to get to see a legendary artist. All in all it was still a good show even though one of the main acts had to drop.
Afterwards it took literally over an hour to get out of the parking lot due to traffic, ugh. At least I didn’t pay for that parking.