In a show review from the Los Angeles Times in 1980, columnist Robert Hilburn covered the six-hour Country Fall Festival at Anaheim Stadium, that featured Merle and Willie as headliners.
It was held at the former Rams stadium, and in order to avoid damage to the field for football Sunday, the crowd was only allowed in the stands.
But the fans still came to party… along with the rest of the artists, which also included performances by Alabama and Emmylou Harris.
At one point, a worker of the concessions stands was in awe at how much beer they’d gone through before the show even started. He said he’d never seen anything like it:
“I’ve never seen anything like it. These people are drinking more beer than the Rams crowd.
We’ve gone through 52 cases already.”
And if that doesn’t sound like a whole lot of beer for 30,000 people, it’s because they were referring to the backstage crew alone:
“I’m not talking about the crowd. That was just for backstage.”
If we do a little quick math, that’s over 1,200 beers between Merle, Willie, perhaps Emmylou and Alabama, as well as their bands and crews… and remember, the concert hadn’t even started yet.
Who really knows what the final tally was…
I wish I could say that I’m surprised, but considering the time frame of this event and the fact that both Merle and Willie were in their prime, I feel like it’s pretty on par.
Though I can only imagine they were feelin’ pretty dang good when it was their time to hit the stage, it sounds a like a complete dream to see those two perform at the same festival.
And Merle actually recorded his performance there for his 1981 live album, Rainbow Stew Live at Anaheim Stadium, that included songs like “Misery And Gin” and “Rainbow Stew.”
And you can watch his kickass live performance of “Misery And Gin” here.
I mean, it simply doesn’t get any better than this: