Willie Nelson Returns Following Bizarre Walk-Off

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Willie Nelson (photo by James Minchin, used with permission)

It’s not exactly the Zapruder film, but the fan video of Willie Nelson walking off the stage on Saturday night (May 26) has been much-discussed by the media and fans. As Best Classic Bands reported on Sunday, the county music legend left the stage in Charlotte, NC before playing a note. The video shows him waving to the crowd and picking up his guitar—then abruptly returning the guitar to its stand, throwing his cowboy hat into the audience and walking off stage without explanation. Was he ill? Was he angry at something?

Nelson’s band mates remained onstage for some time, unaware of whether the star would return. Nelson’s publicist announced, following the cancelation, that Nelson was suffering from a stomach ailment.

In January, Nelson left the stage after singing just one song at a concert in Southern California. According to published recollections from fans in attendance, the singer began performing his customary opening number, “Whiskey River,” but was coughing and appeared to be having difficulty breathing. As in North Carolina on May 26, he left the stage and did not return.

Watch the Zapruder film, er, Willie Nelson walk on, and then off, the stage at the North Carolina show

Like a flame throwing baseball relief pitcher who lets up a walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth only to get a chance to redeem himself the very next day, so did the 85-year-old Nelson, who returned to the stage on Sunday night at the Anthem in Washington, DC.

Unlike the night before, which was part of the Outlaw Music Festival, Sunday night’s concert was a Nelson headlining performance, his final concert before a four-week break. His 24-song set naturally included many of the familiar songs in his repertoire: “Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys,” “On the Road Again,” “Always on My Mind” and “Georgia on My Mind.”

Watch Nelson perform “On the Road Again” at the May 27 concert

Nelson released a new album, Last Man Standing, on April 27.

Watch Nelson sing “Always on My Mind” at The Anthem

Willie Nelson & Family 2018 Tour Dates (Tickets are available here and here)

Jun 22 – Cincinnati, OH – Riverbend Music Center (Outlaw Music Festival)
Jun 23 – Noblesville, IN – Ruoff Home Mortgage Music Center (Outlaw Music Festival)
Jun 24 – Detroit, MI – DTE Energy Music Theatre (Outlaw Music Festival)
Jun 26 – Mt. Pleasant, MI – Soaring Eagle Casino (with John Fogerty and ZZ Top)
Jun 27 – Fort Wayne, IN – Foellinger Outdoor Theatre
Jun 29 – Little Rock, AR – Verizon Arena (Outlaw Music Festival)
Jun 30 – Dallas, TX – Starplex Pavilion (Outlaw Music Festival)
Jul 01 – The Woodlands, TX – Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion (Outlaw Music Festival)
Jul 04 – Austin, TX – Willie Nelson’s 4th of July Picnic at Austin 360 Amphitheater

Jul 28 – Murphys, CA – Ironstone Amphitheatre (with Alison Krauss)
Jul 29 – Reno, NV – Grand Sierra Resort and Casino (with Alison Krauss)
Jul 31 – Troutdale, OR – Edgefield (with Alison Krauss)
Aug 01 – Redmond, WA – Marymoor Park (with Alison Krauss)
Aug 03 – Airway Heights, WA – Northern Quest Resort and Casino (with Alison Krauss)
Aug 04 – Bend, OR – Les Schwab Amphitheater (with Alison Krauss)
Aug 06 – Saratoga, CA – Mountain Winery (with Alison Krauss)
Aug 07 – Fresno, CA – Save Mart Center (with Alison Krauss)
Aug 09 – Costa Mesa, CA – The Pacific Amphitheatre (with Alison Krauss)
Aug 10 – San Diego, CA – Humphreys Concerts (with Alison Krauss)
Aug 11 – Paso Robles, CA – Vina Robles Amphitheatre (with Alison Krauss)

Sep 07 – Burgettstown, PA – KeyBank Pavilion (Outlaw Music Festival)
Sep 08 – Hershey, PA – Hersheypark Stadium (Outlaw Music Festival)
Sep 09 – Toronto, ON – Budweiser Stadium (Outlaw Music Festival)
Sep 12 – Forest Hills, NY – Forest Hills Stadium (with Van Morrison)
Sep 14 – Scranton, PA – The Pavilion at Montage Mountain (Outlaw Music Festival)
Sep 15 – Camden, NJ – BB&T Pavilion (Outlaw Music Festival)
Sep 16 – Holmdel, NJ – PNC Bank Arts Center (Outlaw Music Festival)
Sep 21 – Mansfield, MA – Xfinity Center (Outlaw Music Festival)
Sep 23 – Saratoga Springs, NY – SPAC (Outlaw Music Festival)
Oct 12 – Laughlin, NV – E Center
Oct 17 – Rohnert Park, CA – Graton Resort and Casino
Oct 19 – Las Vegas, NV – The Chelsea at The Cosmopolitan
Oct 20 – Las Vegas, NV – The Chelsea at The Cosmopolitan
Nov 09 – Biloxi, MS – IP Casino Resort (rescheduled from Feb. 9)
Nov 10 – Macon, CA – Macon City Auditorium (rescheduled from Feb. 7)
Nov 12 – Estero, FL – Germain Arena (rescheduled from Feb. 12)
Nov 14 – Panama City, FL – Marina Civic Center (rescheduled from Feb. 10)

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