I texted a friend the night before Thanksgiving at 6 pm "I have an extra ticket to Lukas Nelson at the Cap. It starts in two hours, I just gassed up the car, are you in?" To be fair, we live 75 minutes away. There were excuses - holiday cooking to do, a fire going, not familiar with the band. He gave me a firm no, but let's do it soon kind of thing. Two minutes later, after a gentle nudge from his thoughtful wife, he had reconsidered - "Come pick me up". The kind of concert friend to be thankful for.
If you haven't seen Lukas Nelson, His voice is eerily similar to his famous father Willie's. He and the fantastic POTR are touring in support of his new album 'Sticks and Stones'. Nelson tells beautiful stories, growing up with Willie and Trigger will do that to you I guess. He sings of the party life on "Alcohallelujah", of love lost on "Every Time I Drink", and the stunning "Forgot About Georgia" (with a "Georgia On My Mind" piano tease), the travel life on Roger Miller's "King of the Road" that had the crowd singing along, and of places that he has been on "Just Outside of Austin" and the honky tonk "Carolina". Lukas remarked how beautiful the building was, and how he appreciated the sound in the room.
Lukas played eclectic guitar with the band and took time alone on stage with acoustic guitar and piano. He knows how to work the crowd with his storytelling, his stunning voice, and the pacing of the set. The band moved from high energy to hushed ballads, mixing in petal steel and harmonica, keeping us watching for the changes.
This is a band that needs to be seen live to be appreciated.
On the way home, we talked about kids, remembered friends who were no longer with us, and discussed the issues of aging parents. The holidays can be stressful as an adult, they are never perfect. We spoke of learning to live with the more painful memories, while also enjoying the moment, and remaining hopeful for the future. It's a delicate balance. For us, this concert and the stories of the songs had reminders of all of those adult issues, and the delicate balancing act they require. To our ears, Lukas and POTR delivered a musical feast, and we left feeling full and balanced. A perfect music evening.