'Happy Birthday Willie': Keith Richards drops in on Willie Nelson's 90th birthday concert

LOS ANGELES – Willie Nelson's Hollywood Bowl 90th birthday celebration is in the concert history books.

"Long Story Short: Willie Nelson 90," the power-packed two-night event that kicked off Saturday (Nelson's birthday) ended Sunday as a celebration worthy of the country music icon.

"This is one of those weekends that people are going to be talking about forever," musician Lyle Lovett predicted to USA TODAY before Saturday's concert. "I just said 'yes' immediately. I was honored to be asked."

The lineup of performers – from Snoop Dogg to Chris Stapleton, The Chicks to Tom Jones – just "shows the power of Willie Nelson," Lovett said. "There's nobody like him. Everyone here has Willie Nelson in common, we're all automatically friends because of him. The world needs that and the world needs Willie."

Keith Richards paid respect to Nelson

Willie Nelson and Keith Richards at Willie Nelson's 90th birthday celebration concert.

After presenter Woody Harrelson brought Nelson to the stage late Sunday night, performers such as Sheryl Crow stepped out to perform with the seated Nelson. The duo played their song "Far Away Places" before Crow exited, giving Nelson a power hug that knocked his hat off his head.

The ultimate drop-in visit was fellow outlaw rocker Keith Richards, 79, who thanked the Nelson for "being invited to this party." With Nelson's sons Lukas, and Micah on guitar, the iconic duo played "We Had It All" and “Live Forever,” with the poignant refrain, “Just like the songs I leave behind me / I’m gonna live forever, now."

The entire star-studded cast of the evening's musicians – including Dwight Yoakum, Dave Matthews, Emmylou Harris, Beck, and The Avett Brothers – came on stage for the gospel medley "Will the Circle Be Unbroken/I'll Fly Away."

But the night was not complete without presenter Ethan Hawke insisting on a performer-and-audience rendition of "Happy Birthday" to Nelson, who joined along.

His final words ending the weekend were a joke, "Same time tomorrow night," Nelson said.

Day 1 featured Chris Stapleton to The Chicks

Snoop Dogg and Willie Nelson perform at the music legend's 90th birthday celebration at the Hollywood Bowl.

Nelson let his music superstars carry Saturday's concert's first three hours. Kris Kristofferson joined Rosanne Cash to sing his song "Loving Her Was Easier (Than Anything I'll Ever Do Again)." Cash poignantly allowed the 86-year-old Kristofferson to sing the final words solo. As he walked off the stage with Cash, an emotional Kristofferson saluted the audience, which gave a standing ovation.

Helen Mirren introduced Jones, a fellow Brit, who marveled at Nelson's vitality. "I'm 83, I have something to look forward to," said Jones, who hits that age in June, before breaking into "Opportunity to Cry."

Bob Weir sang "Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain" and The Chicks performed a rowdy version of "Bloody Mary Morning." Jennifer Garner introduced Miranda Lambert, who wore a red-and-black jumpsuit with audacious red fringe to perform "Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys."

Stapleton performed soulful versions of "Last Thing I Needed First Thing This Morning" and "Always on My Mind."

Before singing his song "Willie Got Me Stoned," Jack Johnson alluded to a backstage party that might have been keeping Nelson off the concert stage.

"It's a party. We're having a good time back there," Johnson said.

Willie Nelson performed with Snoop Dogg, George Strait, Neil Young

Willie Nelson (center) performed with Neil Young at his 90th birthday concert.

A beaming Nelson finally strode onstage more than three hours into the concert, taking a seat to join Neil Young for "Are There Any More Real Cowboys?"

"I want to thank all the artists for helping to celebrate whatever we're celebrating," Nelson joked after the song ended.

He sang two songs with country music legend George Strait – "Sing One With Willie" and "Pancho and Lefty" – before bringing his friend Snoop Dogg to the stage.

"Hey, Snoop, come on out here and help me roll one up," Nelson said as the rapper, wielding a gold microphone, took a seat beside him to sing, "Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die." Snoop suggested the song be performed "in the key of smoke."

After playing a joyful version of his classic "On the Road Again," Nelson started serenading himself with "Happy Birthday to Me" from the stage.

The celebrant continued the humor with his final song, Mac Davis’ classic, "It's Hard to Be Humble" with the lyrics, "I can't wait to look in the mirror 'cause I get better looking each day."

Nelson still had the energy to forcefully throw his cowboy hat into the crowd during the final standing ovation.

Who else performed at Willie Nelson's birthday weekend?

Kris Kristofferson and Rosanne Cash at Willie Nelson's birthday concert.

Other performers at the weekend birthday concerts include Beck, Billy Strings, Booker T. Jones, Buddy Cannon, Charley Crockett, Daniel Lanois, Dave Matthews, Dwight Yoakam, Edie Brickell, Emmylou Harris, Gary Clark Jr., Leon Bridges, Lily Meola, Lukas Nelson, Margo Price, Norah Jones, Orville Peck, Particle Kid, Rodney Crowell, Sheryl Crow, Stephen Stills, Sturgill Simpson, The Avett Brothers, The Lumineers, Tyler Childers and Ziggy Marley.

"We put a thoughtful list together of Willie's close friends and the family of musicians that Willie has either recorded or toured with," executive producer Keith Wortman said. "And that just happens to be a very large list."

Want more of Willie? Read on:

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Willie Nelson 90th birthday concert stars Snoop Dogg, Keith Richards