Everyone who knows us knows that we hate country music. We don't like bluegrass, gospel, square dance music, overt patriotism, or religiosity. So what do we do as soon as we arrive in Nashville? Buy tickets to attend the Grand Old Opry - the temple of country music, seasoned with bluegrass, gospel, square dance, patriotism and religiosity. The Opry is two miles from our campground so we thought we'd just pop over and check it out. Little did we realize that the new Opry building is located in a mecca of shopping and entertainment. It shares a large parking lot with Opry Mills (a huge mall like Gurnee Mills or Sawgrass Mills), an IMAX theater, a 24 screen regular theater, a Dave & Busters, and the Nashville Aquarium. And that's only the things we could see in the dark. On a Saturday night on a holiday weekend the place was happenin'! We almost couldn't find a place to park.
Despite our lack of interest in the music, we enjoyed the show. It was arranged in half hour segments each hosted by one of the performers who introduced the other musicians as if they were long lost family. After every song a commercial interruption reminded us that this show was being put on the radio live. Last time we saw this show the commercials were for things like Goo Goo Clusters, but this time there were for Human Health Care and US Bank. Boring! There seemed to be no dress code. Some men had sparkly jackets while others wore mostly black. Some of the women wore cocktail dresses while others wore jeans. A number of the performers had a few years on us, but as they sang their big hit from 1969 the audience went wild. The older performers had their patter down and seasoned their acts with corny, but funny jokes. One woman did only comedy. Menopause was the major theme. It's interesting that now that we boomers have hit the menopause stage, it's a regular topic of conversation. The highlight of the evening was Loretta Lynn, who sang "Coal Miner's Daughter" as well as other songs we did not recognize. She was dressed to the hilt in a glamorous evening gown. She was still in good voice and it was a thrill to see such an icon from the country music world.
When we travel we like to see and do things we can't see and do at home. The Opry is a unique institution that says Nashville the way nothing else can.