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Willie Nelson, ZZ Top Prove 70 (or 80) Is The New 20 At Outlaw Music Festival (Photos)



Willie Nelson, ZZ Top headline the Outlaw Music Festival at at Blossom Music Center on Friday, July 29, 2022. (Photos by Judie Vegh)

This weekend will go a long way in proving the old guys still got it.

At 75, Elton John plays Progressive Field    Saturday night. It’s Sir Elton’s third time in Cleveland on his farewell tour. But first up on Friday were Willie Nelson and ZZ Top.

Nelson’s traveling Outlaw Music Festival rolled into Blossom Music Center. This year’s lineup featured ZZ Top, Gov’t Mule, Larkin Poe and Nelson’s son Micah aka Particle Kid (who would return later in the night for Willie’s headlining set).

The first big draw of the evening was Gov’t Mule. The Georgia jam band’s loyal fanbase put on a strong showing.

The crowd at Blossom ranged from joyful baby boomers and parents with small children to leather-clad Hells Angels members. No matter the age, color or gender, all were air guitaring their way through every song, from the onset of “Traveling Tune” to the driving “Railroad Boy” to the emotional country blues of “Banks of the Deep End.”

Of course, at the center of it all was lead singer/guitarist Warren Haynes. At age 62, Haynes still plays guitar like the charged-up 20-something who worked alongside the likes of David Allan Coe and Dickey Betts.

Haynes’ vocals soared on Gov’t Mule’s “Time to Confess” before he embarked on an epic solo that felt like the musical equivalent of a spiritual awakening. The thrills and chills continued on “Wake Up Dead” and the band’s stellar cover of Tom Waits’ “Make It Rain.” But it was the fan-favorite “Soulshine” that truly brought the house (about two-thirds full) down.

There wasn’t much time to take a breath, let alone refill your drink before ZZ Top strolled out on stage. Newbie bassist Elwood Francis – the band’s longtime guitar tech – joins guitarist/singer Billy Gibbons and drummer Frank Beard.

Francis seemed a bit stiff early on, lacking some of the natural charisma and chemistry Gibbons had with Dusty Hill, who passed away last year. But Gibbons had Francis’ back. From the moment the 72-year-old frontman took the stage and blazed through “Under Pressure,” you couldn’t take your eyes off him.

The first third of ZZ Top’s set was thrilling and very (very) loud. “Waitin’ for the Bus” and “Jesus Just Left Chicago” (the opening one-two punch from 1973′s “Tres Hombres”) still pack a wallop. “Gimme All Your Lovin’” inspired the kind of swaying dance moves you see your parents or grandparents pull out at weddings. “Pearl Necklace” and “I’m Bad, I’m Nationwide” provided the call and response singalong fans seemed to be begging Gibbons for.

When Gibbons wasn’t wowing the crowd with his signature growl, he was doing it with playful guitar tricks. “We just making this s*** up as we go along, man,” he quipped. The livelier Gibbons got, the more Francis loosened up, joining his bandmate for some of the signature moves Gibbons and Hill made famous.

Midway through ZZ Top’s set, the front of the pavilion at Blossom Music Center truly began to feel like a roadhouse. It smelled like one too, with a somewhat tolerable mix of sweat, beer and smoke permeating through the air.

No matter. Gibbons and ZZ Top were on fire, backloading the set with another run of hits, including breaking out the signature white fur guitars for “Legs.” ZZ Top delivered an encore capped by a fiery version of “La Grange” that saw the stage lights bounce of Gibbons’ guitar and bubbles (yes, bubbles!) fill the air.

It was a tough act to follow. Then again, Willie Nelson can simply stand on a stage and bring about a standing ovation, which he did when he arrived a few minutes before 10 p.m.

Nelson’s stage setup was modest: Himself and Particle Kid son acoustic guitars with an upright bass, snare drum and harmonica players surrounding them, backed by a massive flag of Texas.

Nelson is 89 years old. Seeing him at this point feels like a rite of passage for any fan of American music. And there Nelson was — still pushing out notes on “Whiskey River” and picking away at his guitar on a cover of Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys’ “Stay a Little Longer.”

Nelson didn’t waste much time with chit-chat, running through song after song with barely a break in between. It allowed him to cram what could have been a lengthy set into a tight hour.

Highlights included Nelson and Particle Kid duetting on “Die When I’m High (Halfway To Heaven),” Mickey Raphael’s harmonica solo on “Bloody Mary Morning” and a singalong to “Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys.”

Nelson’s set went back and forth between upbeat tunes and ballads. The best example being the transition between “On the Road Again” and “Always on My Mind” — the latter still packs an emotional punch when Nelson sings the chorus.

Many fans seemed to take “Always on My Mind” as a de factor closer, making their way to Blossom Music Center’s exits just halfway through Nelson’s set. Those who stuck around got to witness the icon run through a collection of iconic covers, most notably “Georgia on My Mind,’ Hank Williams’ “Move It on Over” and Terry Fell’s “Truck Drivin’ Man.”

Nelson didn’t deliver an encore. But he didn’t have to. Despite approaching 90 years old, you get the feeling we’ll see Nelson again very soon. Expect the Outlaw Music Festival to return to Blossom at some point and deliver the goods once again.

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Johnny Depp and Attorney Joelle Rich Dating During U.S Heard Trial




Johnny Depp and his former attorney, Joelle Rich, have actually been a thing for longer than we first thought … but there are no plans for the two to settle down as an exclusive couple any time soon.

Sources connected to the pair tell us … Johnny and Joelle were very much an item during his nasty trial with Amber Heard back in the summer. In fact, we’re told Joelle left her kids and estranged husband in the UK for 2 months while she was in Virginia supporting Johnny.

What’s more, we’re told Joelle had no role in Johnny’s legal defense here in the U.S. … so her appearance in court was strictly for pleasure, no business.

One thing our sources are adamant about — Johnny and Joelle are NOT exclusive. In fact, a source connected to Johnny’s new movie tells us he’s recently been spotted on set getting cozy with a new woman while filming over in France.

We’re told it’s more Joelle who wants it to be a serious relationship than Johnny — as one source put it, “He’s f*****g Johnny Depp” and he’s not going to settle down with one partner — at least not yet.

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Amber Heard Decides To Ignore Johnny Depp New Romance: ‘She Doesn’t Care’




Amber Heard has no interest in her ex-husband Johnny Depp’s life after losing to him in the bombshell defamation case

Following reports that the Pirates of the Caribbean actor is dating his former lawyer Joelle Rich, a source told Entertainment Tonight that the Aquaman star could not care less.

“Amber isn’t paying attention to Johnny or his personal life,” the insider shared with the outlet. “She doesn’t care who he dates and just wants to move forward with her life.”

Depp is said to be romantically involved with Rich who represented him during his UK libel case against The Sun back in 2018.

“Their chemistry is off the charts,” an insider told Us Weekly about the rumoured lovebirds. “It’s serious between them. They are the real deal.”

Despite not being a part of actor’s legal team during his US trial against Heard, the source revealed that Rich was present in the Virginia courtroom to support Depp.

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Out of Johnny Depp, Shia LaBeouf, and Armie Hammer: Who deserves a second chance?




Hammer-Depp-Shia mashup - IG

All three of these Hollywood stars fell from grace but can they redeem themselves?

The #Meetoo movement has been ruthless against men in Hollywood who abuse women, as it should always be. Specific cases of Armie Hammer, Shia LaBeouf and Johnny Depp have taken the spotlight in 2022, all of them are wildly interesting. In previous years, there have been other different cases where Hollywood forgave stars who fell from grace and got back on their feet.

Mel Gibson somehow managed to get back into the industry despite his views on jewish people and the abuse on his ex wife. Robert Downey Jr. also got back on his feet after a troubling past with drug addiction and encounters with the law. These new cases are worth looking at and see which one of them has a better chance at redemption.

Johnny Depp

Even though he is still beloved by the majority of the world, Johnny Depp still made many mistakes against Amber Heard. He lived a toxic relationship with the actress as both of them abused each other. On paper, winning that trial is a great start in order to begin his triumphant return to Hollywood’s good graces. He is already in the middle of production for a new film where he is playing King Louis XI. It’s safe to say Depp already saved his career inside the industry.

Shia LaBeouf

Shia LaBeouf is still going through a criminal investigation in which he was accused of sexual assault by FKA Twigs. He recently confessed he hurt the artist and seems highly apologetic about it. Even though he is already returning to the fiom industry, returning to Hollywood will be slightly trickier for him. Francis Ford Coppola already signed him for his new film but other studios won’t be as quick to offer him a job. This one might take a little longer but he is on the right track.


Armie Hammer

Armie Hammer’s situation is by far the most difficult in recent history. It can even be compared to other high profile cases such as Harvey Weinstein or Bill Cosby.Even though he hasn’t technically commited any crimes yet, Hammer has displayed some concerning personality traits. Those texts his former partners and flings shared on social media paint him as a potential cannibal. Adding more insult to injury, Armie’s dark family history isn’t helping his case. Returning to Hollywood is currently out of the question for Armie Hammer.

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