This came out in 2003 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):
Ah, the summer concert season. Is there any more exciting time for a fan?
After all, how often do you get the chance to blow most of your paycheque for the privilege of being crammed into the back row of a stadium’s upper deck, staring for two hours at the butt of the biker in front of you while he dances on his seat, screams “Whooo!” at the top of his lungs every 30 seconds and spills beer on your head? If you’re ready for a less stressful (and less expensive) concert experience, perhaps it’s time to check out this new live album. If you still don’t feel like you’re at a gig, try parking your car two miles away and charging yourself $5 for a bottle of water.
THE TICKET: An hour of Willie Nelson a-pickin’ and a-grinnin’ and a-wastin’ his time (and ours) with yet another album loaded down with worshipful pop stars, rock gods and country acolytes.
SOUND CHECK: Decent, but sort of lifeless and compressed, as if it were taped off an FM broadcast — or perhaps stripped directly off the DVD version of this release.
GOLDEN OLDIES: The usual assortment of overplayed chestnuts like Night Life (featuring Eric Clapton), Blue Eyes Cryin’ In The Rain (with Shania Twain), Angel Flying Too Close To The Ground (with Shelby Lynne) and Crazy (with Elvis Costello and Diana Krall), augmented with highly unnecessary covers of Homeward Bound (with author Paul Simon), She Loves My Automobile (with ZZ Top) and — heaven help us — One Time Too Many (with Steven Tyler).
BIC LIGHTER BALLAD: Well, you’d think To All The Girls I’ve Loved Before would qualify — except for the fact that former Fugee Wyclef Jean has butchered it by turning it into a reggae-pop ditty.
ROCK-STAR CLICHE: Sadly, the entire album.
LAST WORDS: By my count, Willie, this is your third superstar-guest album in 18 months. Enough already. How’s about you put away your Rolodex, pick up your guitar and just write some new songs for a change?