Keith Richards brought the house down at the Hollywood Bowl on Sunday night when he joined Willie Nelson’s 90th birthday concert and performed We Had It All and Live Forever.
It was the second night of the Long Story Short: Willie Nelson 90 concerts, and it had already proved to be an all-star occasion.
The previous day had witnessed guest turns from Neil Young and George Strait, with fellow marijuana enthusiast Snoop Dogg joining Shotgun Willie for a red-eyed rendition of Roll Me Up And Smoke Me When I Die.
And earlier in the evening, Nelson opened the show with a Booker T Jones on a cover of Hoagy Carmichael and His Pals’ Stardust, before welcoming Sheryl Crow to the stage for a performance of Faraway Places, and bluegrass phenom Billy Strings came up to play California Sober for the first time together (Nelson guested on the Strings recording).
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The best was yet to come. Keef was waiting in the wings, and walked onstage, flanked by Nelson’s sons, Micah and Lukas. Lukas Nelson was on the Telecaster, everyone else on acoustic guitar. “Thank you, ladies and gentlemen,” said Richards. “It’s good to be here. It’s good to be anywhere.”
Keeping up appearances, as though he wasn’t quite sure what they were to play together, Richards called out We Had It All, the Troy Seals and Donnie Fritts tune made famous by Waylon Jennings, and it was a rare treat to have Richards sharing lead vocals.
“I’m surrounded by Nelsons,” joked Richards, as he stuck around for a poignant cover of the late outlaw country legend Billy Joe Shafver’s Live Forever. There was something magical and unworked about it, but then it helps when you have a backing band that’s been led by Don Was. And also a little bit of history together with the tracks.
Nelson and Richards most famously hooked up for a cover of We Had It All on the country legend’s 2004 live album, Outlaws And Angels.
Recorded live at the Wiltern, Los Angeles, it featured guest collaborations from the likes of Al Green, Lucinda Williams, Ben Harper, Joe Walsh, Carole King, and this being 2004, a very different time, Kid Rock was invited up for a couple of tracks.