Watching the sold-out crowd stream into the Backyard on Sunday afternoon to attend Willie Nelson’s “official” 80th birthday party concert was like watching an unwinding mosaic of the audiences who have been coming to see him in the 40-plus years since he moved to Austin: all ages, all stations in life; hippie sandals and cowboy boots that look like they’ve seen their share of feedlots; silky sundresses and polyester pearl-snap Western shirts; fancy Resistol toppers and feedstore gimme caps; a multitude of red bandannas and generations of Willie concert T-shirts.
In some ways it was timeless, the re-enactment of a modern Texas ritual — Willie Nelson, singing under a cloudless spring sky in the Texas Hill Country.
The story you’re reading is premium content from the Austin American-Statesman. Subscribers get total access to all our in-depth news, digital editions and exclusive premium content. You can also buy a 24-hour digital pass or 7-day digital pass.
Read MyStatesman.com now — 24-hour digital pass99¢ for 24-hours
Read MyStatesman.com all week — 7-day digital pass$3.99 for 7-days
Subscribe to the Statesman for as little as 33¢ per dayView Offers
For Subscribers: Register your account for digital access.Access Digital
For Subscribers: Sign in here if you have already registered your account.Sign In
Tuesday is Willie Nelson’s 80th birthday. See more photos from Sunday night’s Backyard show, our video birthday greeting and our birthday photo gallery (it’s not too late to add yours). Plus a Willie song list and many more stories about the country legend and the Family Band.