Willie Nelson’s 90th year rolls on with a new concert film, book on the horizon

Willie Nelson and Keith Richards perform at the Hollywood Bowl

Willie Nelson and Keith Richards perform at Willie Nelson 90, a concert celebrating Willie’s 90th birthday at the Hollywood Bowl on April 30, 2023.
Photo: Randall Michelson

If Willie Nelson’s year to date is any indication, 90 is the age at which the Texas icon becomes even more productive, not less.

We’ve mentioned the highlights to date: Being nominated for induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame this November and being awarded with the LBJ Liberty & Justice for All Award earlier in May; the late April release of the all-star tribute LP One Night in Texas: The Next Waltz’s Tribute to the Red Headed Stranger, and the January premiere of a new, authorized documentary “Willie Nelson and Family,” as well as the March release of his latest studio album, I Don’t Know a Thing About Love.

But wait, there’s more!

Nelson’s recent, two-night tribute concert at the Hollywood Bowl — titled “Long Story Short: Willie Nelson 90” — was a star-studded, sold-out affair. If you couldn’t make the trip to Los Angeles, fret not: Willie has you covered.

On June 11, “Long Story Short: Willie Nelson 90” will be screened in theaters across the country, as the two-night event was filmed for posterity. While not every performance will be included — press materials cite the film’s run time as “two hour-plus,” which means by necessity some artists won’t make the cut — there’s still doubtless an abundance of riches awaiting viewers.

“Demand to attend this historic concert event was unprecedented,” said Nelson’s manager, Mark Rothbaum, and Blackbird Presents CEO Keith Wortman in a joint statement. “Willie wanted to make sure his 90th birthday party included and was accessible to all of his fans. This concert film release will allow everyone to join in and celebrate with Willie and an amazing line-up of superstar artists. We are thrilled to share this concert event with fans around the globe in such a unique and powerful way.”

Tickets for the June 11 screenings are on sale now, and you can get more information via willienelson90experience.com. Encore screenings are also set for June 13 and 14.

If that weren’t enough, Nelson has another release on the horizon: “Energy Follows Thought: The Stories Behind My Songs,” a new book he’s co-written with David Ritz and long-time musical collaborator Mickey Raphael. The book, due out Oct. 31, will explore the lyrics to 160 of Nelson’s songs, “along with a dynamic assortment of never-before-seen photos and ephemera,” per press materials.

Preston Jones is a North Texas freelance writer and regular contributor to KXT. Email him at [email protected] or find him on Twitter (@prestonjones). Our work is made possible by our generous, music-loving members. If you like how we lift up local music, consider becoming a KXT sustaining member right here.