Nearing 80-years-old, Willie Nelson was in Tucson last week, doing a show at the Desert Diamond Casino.

I have listened to Willie Nelson songs my entire life, and I love his music with the Highway Men, and it’s hard to beat the “Seven Spanish Angels” song he did with Ray Charles years ago.

Willie is always going to be just Willie, and he understands the importance of showing respect to those who have supported his long-lived career.

After a lengthy show, Willie stood at the edge of the stage signing autographs, hugging and kissing fans for more than 45 minutes. I won’t mention one of the older women trying to push me over in order to get up there as quickly as she could.

I loved numerous things about the show. Not only did Willie sing some of the hits that have made him famous throughout the years, but he did so with the worn guitar he’s traveled around with his entire career, along with the iconic red, white and blue strap around his neck, with his messy hair, and braid laid off to the side.

The fans up front were even more excited when the threw his cowboy hat, followed by numerous red head bands into crowds throughout the concert.

This was the third concert I’ve gone to in the last year, and by far, there are only two that were good shows.

The first concert of the stretch was Britney Spears. I made a deal with the teenage daughter, she met the agreement, we went. Spears spent a lot of time rolling around half-naked, lip syncing, and really just putting on a production rather than a concert.

Her opening act, Nicki Minaj, was better than Britney, but was all about elaborate outfits, light shows and cussing.

Britney had props throughout the show, with flashy lights and constant costume changes. It was too loud, a waste of money, and in the end, a waste of time.

The next concert was George Strait, with Martina McBride as his opener. Can’t beat George, he’s the king of country music and after 30 years, he still has it. McBride is no opener, but like she said, “It’s great to be here with George Freakin’ Strait.”

The third was last week with Willie.

These shows have led me to a few conclusions. First, I think I may be entering the stage where I am “getting old,” and that music is just too loud. However, the second conclusion is that today’s stars, or so-called musicians, just don’t have the talent or staying power that some of my childhood, and current favorites continue to maintain.

Here is why George Strait, Martina McBride and Willie have talent, while Britney Spears is just a face. They had a few instruments, some band members and sang without a tape. They used their own voices, played some new stuff, played longtime favorites and the entire crowd was happy.

These performers stand on a stage, they sing, they play instruments and none of them roll around on a stage half dressed, or dance around on top of a car or on a swing.

These guys are old school. They can please a crowd, and make it clear to me that it’s not me getting old, but keeping my good taste intact. And, I say that no matter what the teenage daughter thinks.

— Thelma Grimes

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