A Trip to Austin to perform at Austin City Limits and Willie Nelson's Ranch
posted 15 Oct 2016 by Krister Axel
A big shout-out to my buddy Shawn Pander, who called me up to sit in on his ACL gig because his main keyboard guy was in Italy.

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NOTE: This post was copied from the old Axel.me blog in Feb of 2018..

I suppose I'm in the habit now of taking a lot of photos. Ever since I became a dad I am pretty shameless with my camera. Life is too short to not get good photos of the fun stuff. That being said, I was a little over-cautious taking photos of some the 'insider' stuff, like Tito's secret backstage area, that had a Prohibition vibe and massage chairs and free vodka drinks. I still got some photos but it was even bigger than it looks. I did get a bunch of shots at Willie's ranch, because they bussed in the visitors and then promptly bussed them out so we had the place to ourselves a bit more than at ACL which was totally insane with crowds of people. The whole photo album is on Google photos if you want to take a look. Below are the highlights.

A big shout-out to my buddy Shawn Pander, who called me up to sit in on his ACL gig because his main keyboard guy was in Italy.

Flying to Austin.
setting up at Willie's Ranch - called simply 'Luck'.
Food trucks! The lobster roll was delicious.
Most of the buildings were put up in the 80's for a movie that Willie did. The story goes that he loved them all so much that he had the script changed so that they wouldn't have to be burned down at the end of the movie.

After 2 great sets at Luck Ranch we started getting ready for our show at Austin City Limits. We performed on the Tito stage, who I met briefly and seemed like a very cool guy. He certainly takes care of his employees and his performers and he is quite rightly a big deal in the Austin music and business community.

I got a kick out of this Henry Rollins quote posted right at the entrance to the stage.
Tito of course has a killer backstage area set up for his artists and their friends, as well as his own entourage. It had a roaring 20's/prohibition vibe which was pretty cool.
Shawn and his wife Beth.
You know it's a big stage when you have to shoot a panoramic just to see the whole thing. Note the lack of crowd at the beginning.
People started showing up during the set and by the end we had quite a crowd.
Beth's sister got a few good shots of the stage before it got too crowded.
after we were done we just kicked it back stage with Tito's people. :)
yes they had a craps table. Tito does not mess around.
Bloody Mary bar and finger food. Yes please.

About the Author


Krister Bjornson Axel

Ogdensburg, New York

Paris, France. Madison, Wisconsin. Los Angeles. Ashland, Oregon. Ottawa. I write music, I write about music, and I write code. See also: photography, prose, podcasting. I have 1 gorgeous wife, 2 amazing kids, and many interests.

Recent Awards: 2020 ND (Photo) Honorable Mention, 2020 Accenti Writing Contest Finalist