Willie Nelson Returns to the Stage for 4th of July Spectacular

Willie Nelson overcomes illness, ready for July 4th show.

by Nouman Rasool
Willie Nelson Returns to the Stage for 4th of July Spectacular
© Theo Wargo/Getty Images

Willie Nelson took the stage once again after a short break caused by health issues at his annual Fourth of July Picnic. The venue this year was just outside of Philadelphia, in Camden, New Jersey. In one show of the Outlaw Music Festival, Nelson was greeted with loud applause as he made his way to take a seat on stage.

At the Outlaw Music Festival, Willie's son Lukas did his best to fill in for dad, who had taken ill, by giving a touching rendition of some of Willies standards. The festival also featured performances from the likes of Bob Dylan, Robert Plant and Alison Krauss.

Those artists and others, including Celisse; Maren Morris, the 2016 Grammy winner for best country solo performance; and soul legend Staples, were among those who helped create a solid-though-not-revolutionary lineup at this year's Fourth of July Picnic.

This year, though, Nelson's Independence Day celebration passed out of his home state, Texas, for the first time in 14 years.

Willie's Health Update

By the end of June, news from Nelson's social media pages reported that he was feeling under the weather with a cold and, after medical advice, would be canceling several dates on his Outlaw Music Festival.

But Tuesday, right before the Fourth of July itself brought a reportedly reassuring dispatch from his social media that read: "Willie Nelson is looking forward to seeing everyone in Camden on July 4." Willie Nelson released his 75th studio album, The Border, in early May.

AdvertisementDesert RaceKiller SolumThis record alone will mark his 14th album in the last decade, proving he still has that energy to make music. The title song of the album is singled out as one of Nelson's most touching and revelatory recent pieces.

No wonder it was hailed as "a story-song in which the toll and complexity of the immigration issue sting you in the face as hard as desert sand" by Rolling Stone - testimony to his ongoing relevance, rooted interpretation into timeless themes.

Willie Nelson, on the road, sang again not just as a testament to his being hearty but also to evoke the image and spirit of the legendary Willie's Fourth Of July Show that resonates with fans around America.