Willie Nelson’s 90th birthday concerts feature

Dozens of artists and thousands of fans will come together at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles on April 29-30 to wish country music icon Willie Nelson a very happy birthday.

The “On the Road Again” singer-songwriter, musician and political activist turns 90 on Saturday, April 29 and several of his famous friends and longtime collaborators will be performing alongside him during a special concert to mark the occasion.

“He certainly seems to be having a moment this year,” said Bill Silva, promoter of Live Nation Hewitt Silva, during a recent phone interview. “If you just look at this year, he won two Grammy awards and has a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nomination. It really feels like the year of Willie and it just happens to coincide with this 90th.”

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“(This) is one of the best lineups we have ever put together for one show,” Silva’s booking partner Andrew Hewitt added.

Nelson did pick up two Grammy awards in February in the best country album category for “A Beautiful Time” and the best country solo performance award for his cover of Billy Joe Shaver’s “Live Forever” off of the album, “Live Forever: A Tribute to Billy Joe Shaver.” He’s also a 2023 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominee alongside Kate Bush, Missy Elliot, Joy Division/New Order, George Michael, Rage Against the Machine and several others.

The cherry on his year, or atop his birthday cake, is this massive two-day celebration dubbed Long Story Short: Willie Nelson 90, which is scheduled to included appearances by Alisson Russell, Beck, Billy Strings, Bobby Weir, Booker T. Jones, Buddy Cannon, Charley Crockett, Chris Stapleton, Daniel Lanois, Dave Matthews, Dwight Yoakam, Edie Brickell, Emmylou Harris, Gary Clark Jr., George Strait, Jack Johnson, Jamey Johnson, Kris Kristofferson, Leon Bridges, Lyle Lovett, Margo Price, Miranda Lambert, Nathaniel Rateliff, Neil Young, Norah Jones, Orville Peck, Particle Kid, Rosanne Cash, The Lumineers, Sheryl Crow, Shooter Jennings, Snoop Dogg, Stephen Stills, Sturgill Simpson, The Avett Brothers, The Chicks, Tom Jones, Tyler Childers, Warren Hayes, Waylon Payne, Ziggy Marely, Nelson’s sons, Lukas and Micah Nelson, and several more special guests.

“I mean, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime kind of thing,” said Brian Smith, Live Nation California senior vice president of booking, during an interview. “Willie is an American icon not only for his music, but he’s just done so much for us culturally. To be able to put together his 90th birthday and celebrate with him like this at The Bowl is breathtaking. I’m excited to see it.”

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Silva can’t pick out which artists and collaborations he’s the most interested in seeing. Without revealing any set list secrets, he added “I think there’s just going to be so many special moments created in this, so I hope I get to see the full show.”

It’s a diverse lineup — with hip-hop, indie rock, folk, country, R&B, pop, reggae, jazz and blues artists all on one bill. There was an entire team, including Silva, Hewitt and Smith, along with Nelson’s longtime manager Mark Rothbaum, that came up with a list of artists to perform at the birthday bash. All of the acts that were available and not already booked for a tour, responded “yes” immediately to this exclusive invite.

“We really wanted to celebrate the diversity of all of the different music Willie has created in his career — he did that reggae album with Ziggy (Marley) and ‘Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die’ with Snoop Dogg,” Silva said.

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