Willie Nelson and Family (including son Lukas Nelson on guitar) were highly-anticipated, with American flag bandannas dotting the crowd amid the fragrant puffs of marijuana smoke.
Ever the showman, Nelson left it all out there, covering hits like “Always on My Mind,” “Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys” and “On the Road Again.”
Nelson was also joined by a few special guests, with actor John Stamos – a musician unto his own right – playing bongos and the Grateful Dead’s Bob Weir on guitar for a little bit.
Nelson left the chilled-out crowd with his latest single, “Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die,” and the timeless “I Saw The Light.”
He also tossed out his hat to the singing crowd and had a big grin when someone tossed a joint up onstage.
A fitting way to pay tribute to an American legend.
The Los Angeles-based Dawes preceded Nelson.
Considered a hero of frontman Taylor Goldsmith and his brother Griffin, the chance to see Nelson was pretty exciting.
But first, Dawes had to do their thing, and it was a refreshing lesson in classic rock from an up-and-coming band.
Those tracks included the lead single “From a Window Seat” and “Most People,” both of which have been heard on rock radio throughout the nation.
Dawes also dipped into their back catalog, with the rollicking hit “When My Time Comes” prompting a huge dance party that went from the front of the stage to the banked hill off to the side.
Taylor Goldsmith took a brief moment to recall the first time Dawes played Outside Lands, a moment that came back in 2010. At that time, the band was relegated to a small stage and an early time slot.
Fast forward to 2013, and Dawes was appreciative of the larger stage and enthusiastic crowd that came out to watch.
To close their set, Dawes selected “From the Right Angle” off Stories. It might not be the first song the band released off the record, but it is definitely in the conversation for the best composition.
Drawing out flourishes on his Fender Telecaster, Goldsmith had the crowd in the palm of his hand.
A chill Dawes performance, for sure, but it was also an excellent nod to the legendary acts that came before them. And a tip of the cap to Nelson, as well.
Earlier in the day, Nashville’s Kopecky Family Band rocked the Panhandle Stage with their folky rock gems. “Birds” was a big moment that had several fans dancing and whistling along, as was “Are You Listening.”
Both tracks came off Kopecky Family Band’s debut full-length album Kids Raising Kids.
All in all, Sunday’s lineup featured a diverse group of performers, but Dawes, Willie Nelson and Kopecky Family Band seemed to carry the banner for classic- and country-tinged rock.