A woman who proudly told me she was about to turn seventy-nine-years-old cashed in her airline miles to fly from her home in Little Rock, Arkansas to see Lukas Nelson perform in Colorado. The super fan, wearing a Lukas Nelson t-shirt, confessed she liked the musician better with a little stubble instead of his current clean-shaven look. Apparently, the lack of a facial hair makes him look too much like her grandson. When the Ogden Theatre doors finally opened, she ran straight to the front of the stage.
The audience had to wait forty minutes after the scheduled start time before the band hit the stage. While waiting, I witnessed a guy who looked like he just stepped out of the year 1978 attempt to pick up a lady. Much to his chagrin, the woman was with her aunt and her mother. He slowly backed away. It was apparent the audience that spanned generations were there to see Lukas Nelson not that that 1978 guy.
When Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real started, many of the women immediately gently swayed to the music and stared at Nelson in awe. He was still clean-shaven and probably looked like the super fan’s grandson. Along with the crowd favorites, the band played a few songs from their latest album A Few Stars. It was produced by the legendary Dave Cobb who has worked with Chris Stapleton, Brandi Carlile, Jason Isbell (to name only a few).
After playing the humorous Four Letter Word complete with Nelson’s impressive guitar playing (he sampled the Beatles I Want You during the solo) . The band performed the very Willie Nelson sounding Just Outside of Austin (I thought it was a cover of his father’s song, but it’s an original).
Promise of the Real’s remarkable musicianship allowed Nelson to shine. Logan Metz (looking very stylish in a large white hat), played electronic keyboard, piano, and even the banjo. Wearing another fashionable hat with sunglasses, bass player Cory McCormick supplied the backbone and some impressive dance moves. Drummer Tato Melgar and percussionist Anthony LoGerfo provided the pulse of the music without the power of hats.
The band turned the song Find Yourself into a sing-off between the women and men belting out the chorus, “I hope you find yourself/Before I find somebody else to be my lover.” With the help of McCormick’s bass during the men’s turn, I can confidently state the guys won the competition (it’s probably cheating, but I’ll take the win).
Nelson explained the tune from the new album Giving You Away is about a Father and Daughter dance at a wedding. The musician was pleased to learn the song has made its way into a few receptions. The singer introduced Willie Nelson’s Angles Flying Too Close To The Ground by proclaiming the song was from his favorite songwriter.
Nelson went over to the piano to play Smile from the closing track from their latest album:
And I can’t help but smile
At the funny way I fought so hard before
Swam against a river
I never trusted any shore
Now I float beneath the sun in sweet surrender
Like a child, I think of you
And I can’t help but smile
See you at the next show. I’ll be the one that just cashed in my airline miles to be there.