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.
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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.