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Willie Nelson sings his hits during Penn's Peak concert

Published October 31. 2011 05:03PM

Country's best-known "outlaw," Willie Nelson, performed at Penn's Peak last night.

As any true Willie Nelson fan would expect, there would be nothing fancy. He didn't talk much.

He just sang one hit after another. And that was just fine.

The 75-minute set consisted mostly of the hits he's either recorded or written over his decades long career.

About the only words he uttered during the performance was "thank you," which was okay. He also introduced his band, which included his sister Bobbie Nelson, a pianist who did a solo selection.

Bobbie had appeared in the movie "Honeysuckle Rose" with Willie as part of his road band.

From his opening "Whiskey River," the 78-year-old country star had the crowd in his grasp. In fact, it was even before that. As soon as he stepped onto the large, wooden Penn's Peak stage, the sell-out audience greeted him with a standing ovation.

Nelson was always known as an "outlaw" after his "Wanted: The Outlaws" album, his open smoking of marijuana, and his defiance to the Internal Revenue Service. His soft side has been exposed throughout his career during many benefit concerts he has staged, including starting and then hosting the annual "Farm Aid" concert for the past 26 years, for which proceeds went to farmers.

Always known as "the red-headed stranger" because of his reddish hair, he is gray now, but still sports his trademark ponytail.

He wore a black, short-sleeve shirt, black pants, and black hat to start his concert. By the 11th song, he ditched the hat for a red and black bandana. He later tossed that bandana to the audience, then put on another bandana.

The stage backdrop was a large flag consisting of one broad red stripe, one broad white stripe, and a single white star in a blue background.

Nelson sang such staples as "Crazy," "Funny How Time Slips Away," "Good Hearted Woman," and, of course, "On the Road Again."

When he sang "Good Hearted Woman," he had the audience sing part of the chorus.

The performer did a tribute to Hank Williams, singing "On the Bayou" and "Hey, Good Looking."

"Always on My Mind" and "Mama, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys" were big hits with the fans.

Other selections included "Help Me Make It Through the Night," "Me and Bobby McGee," "Georgia On My Mind," and his number one hit, "Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground."

One of the hilarious parts of the concert was a special song he wrote about himself and his harmonica player, during which he alludes to them getting arrested, being denied boarding a plane in Milwaukee, and other mischievous antics.

Nelson delivered what the audience expected: a songbook sung in his own special style. It was obvious from the constant applause and the long ovation he got at the end of the show that people loved both him and the show he presented.

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