Two minutes into his induction speech for Willie Nelson at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 2023 ceremony at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY on November 3, Dave Matthews pointed out: "You know what? Willie likes to smoke weed!"
After lengthy applause, the DMB frontman continued: "One time Willie smoked in the White House... It was with Jimmy Carter's son. I like to think if Jimmy Carter had been elected for a second term, then weed would've been legal in the mid-'80s."
Matthews, who first met Nelson at Farm Aid in 1995, noted:
"We came off stage and we went on his bus after our set and I got so high that I thought I might forget to breathe. Then I got more high and we continued to get high. Then Willie said, 'Is everybody high?' My mom still has the photograph of me and the band so high on Willie's bus. She's very proud of me."
Matthews then mentioned Nelson recording "Roll Me Up and Smoke Me (When I Die)" with Snoop Dogg: "Snoop said smoking with Willie is the only time he ever said, 'I can't smoke anymore.'"
He ended his speech with this comment:
"Willie is an example of how the world could be if we could just straighten up and fly right."
Matthews also sang a solo version of Nelson's "Funny How Time Slipos Away."
Nelson's acceptance speech was short and sweet:
"Thank all y'all for this great honor. I appreciate the acknowledgement of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Included with so many legends and some I'm lucky enough to call a friend. Thanks again for including me tonight. And thanks for appreciating my music."
He added: "Now that Johnny [Cash] and I have been inducted, I want to give a plug for Waylon [Jennings], who played with Buddy Holly, and Kris [Kristofferson], who sang so many hits, to be inducted too."
Nelson performed "Whiskey River" (with Chris Stapleton, Don Was and Micah Nelson), "Crazy" (with Sheryl Crow) and "One the Road Again" (with Matthews, Crow and Stapleton).
Crow, who was also inducted along with Missy Elliott, George Michael, Chaka Khan, Kate Bush, Rage Against the Machine, the Spinners and Al Kooper, said in her acceptance speech it was a “big honor to be inducted alongside one of the people I admire most on this planet and that’s Willie Nelson.”
Nelson's Greatest Hits album and latest book Energy Follows Thought: The Stories Behind the Songs both came out this past week.
It's been a huge year for Nelson who celebrated his 90th birthday in April.