The Austin music scene welcomed 2014 with a variety of New Year’s Eve concerts. If you didn’t make it out, here’s a sample of what you missed.
Willie Nelson and Family at Austin City Limits Live
Willie Nelson didn’t even take the stage until moments before midnight, and by then the party had already been going for nearly four hours.
But that’s when things got crazy at the Willie Nelson and Family show to kick off the new year in downtown Austin.
Father Time Texas, with a long white beard, descended from the ceiling of the Austin City Limits Live at the Moody Theater, riding a giant bat.An enormous Texas flag unfurled as a backdrop, balloons fell, streamers soared, people smooched and then Nelson started his show like he always does — with a rendition of "Whiskey River."
Wearing a black T-shirt, blue jeans and his signature red bandana, Nelson didn’t waste time on chit chat between songs. Instead he launched into hit after hit, from "Still is Still Moving to Me" and "Good Hearted Woman" to "If You’ve got the Money I’ve Got the Time," "Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys," "Crazy," "Always on My Mind," "City of New Orleans," "Georgia," and "Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground."
As he reeled off the hits, the audience batted around balloons and sang along with their favorite outlaw. The whole place just felt like old Austin.
— Pam LeBlanc
Doyle Bramhall II and Smokestack at Antone’s
If you’re a stickler for details, 2014 at Antone’s on East Riverside Drive began somewhere during the second verse of Doyle Bramhall II and Smokestack’s "Green Light Girl." Three songs into the final performance at the club and realizing the celebratory moment was eminent, or had just passed depending on your watch’s second hand, Bramhall and his band wound the song to an abrupt close to do the obligatory "3, 2, 1…" countdown and champagne toast.
Guest organist and Austin mainstay Mike Flanigin peeled off a few lines of "Auld Lang Syne," the room full of blues fans exchanged their wishes of good fortune and then it was back to business for 90 more minutes.
The concert was the last event to take place at the East Riverside location, and, wandering through the crowd, it was easy to overhear patrons chatting about what the future holds for Antone’s.
A group of seven investors who purchased the club in November have pledged to reopen it in a new downtown spot, which will be the sixth Antone’s location since blues supporter Clifford Antone first opened it at Sixth and Brazos streets in 1975.
That group’s spokespeople had said they hoped to be open in time for South By Southwest in March but as of the closing night of the Riverside club there had been no confirmed news of where and when Antone’s will rise again.
Crowd chatter during much of Tuesday’s proceedings included lots of speculation and hopes that the former Emo’s spot on Sixth and Red River streets will become its new home.
— Chad Swiatecki
Next week in Austin360
Matthew Odam visits Cafe Josie and will tell you all about it, and we’ll have a preview of the Green Day musical, "American Idiot," which opens Jan. 14 at Bass Concert Hall.