0

Great expectations were fulfilled - April Avison

There are only a precious few moments in one's life in which one gets to do something that is on their unwritten life's to-do list. I got to do one of those things last week. I saw Willie Nelson and Bob Dylan in concert.

My Texan friends understand my obsession with Willie. He's a legend, and I grew up listening to his music. I remember my grandfather singing "On the Road Again" when I was a child. I remember hearing Willie's version of "What a Wonderful World" and "Georgia." There's no greater feeling than having that voice radiating from your stereo. I was determined to see him live before it was too late. He is 70 years old after all.

Perhaps one of the happiest moments of my life was when Bob Dylan joined Willie onstage for "Poncho and Lefty." I sang along to every last word of that song while the people around me wondered if I was going to be OK. They definitely weren't from Texas.

There's a shortage of really good live music in this world, and I'm happy to have experienced some of the good stuff.

Willie played in College Station, Texas, my sophomore year of college, 1996. I called his publicity team and booked an interview. I sat patiently by the phone, waiting for his call. My colleagues thought it would be funny to tease me and incessantly called my line and faked a Willie voice. At one point the jokes were off when a sportswriter said, "Hey, April, there's an old guy on the phone for you."

I took a deep breath and picked up the phone.

"This is April."

"Hey, Ape. What's going on?" It was my dad.

Willie never called, and I was crushed.

I wrote the news article anyway, and the show went on. I can't remember now why I didn't go to that show. It would be years before I'd get to see him onstage.

So I had great expectations for the Willie show on Wednesday. Bob Dylan was, frankly, mediocre, but Willie was awesome. I had the time of my life. I remembered all the songs I used to sing with my grandpa.

At one point I looked around at the crowd and noticed the variety of spectators. Adults, children and teenagers were among the audience. It was wonderful to see how music can bring people, who seemingly have nothing in common, together.

April Avison is the city editor of the Daily Herald. Her column appears on Mondays. She can be reached at (770) 957-9161 or via e-mail at aavison@henryherald.com .