Reprinted from yesterday's late editions.
Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings, the Butch Cassidy and Sundance Kid of outlaw music, Monday drew 12,000 under 30-urban cowboys and cowgirls to the Capital Centre for a night of rousing country music.
The trail Jennings followed to his current position as king of the outlaws stretches back to his early career.Jennings, then gaunt and sporting a slicked-back hairstyle more often identified with Porter Wagoner, was one of Buddy Holly's Circkets (the only one to have escaped that fatel plane crash), and worked for years at a rock'n roll living before turning to country music.
Now, he's come almost full circle. His material may be country ("Tonight the Bottle Let Me Down") and his heroes traditional ("Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way?" "Bob Wills is Still the King"), still the whole rhythm of Jennings' performance Monday night recalled his rock 'n' roll education. The sudden vocal explosion and those straightforward guitar riffs are right out of the '50s.
Avuncular co-star Willie Nelson was once the countriest of country songwriters. But the more ornate Nashville music became and the further it moved away from the Texas honky-tonks to the Hollywood strings, the less the plain-spoken Nelson liked it. So he escaped to that last refuge of the beer-drinking, blues-singing common man. The capital of country music to Nelson's and Jennings' people isn't the Nashville of the overdubs. It's "Luckenbach, Texas," where "ain't nobody feelin' no pain."
So there thye stood, "Waylen Willie" in the biggest sports arena in the area, playing country music as loud as Meat Loaf and exciting more fervent cheers than two Tom Joneses. As Jennings himself sang, this outlaw bit has gotten out of hand.