October 30, 2010 – Grand Ole Opry
Today was a nesting day. We cleaned the RV top to bottom inside – I polished every piece of wood including all of the cabinets, then vacumned and wiped the floors. We had just done all of the windows so, now it is sparkling! Also did laundry.
Then, the treat of the day – a night at the Grand Ole Opry. The RV park arranged for a Gray Line tour bus to pick up those interested in going to the Opry and we purchased tickets through them. When I went to book the show, I couldn’t believe that the “featured” act that night was Rascal Flatts, Bob’s favorite group. He calls them “his boys” and has almost all of their CDs. Bob had never been to the Opry so he didn’t know what to expect and I didn’t tell him because it sort of ruins it. (So, all of you out there will have to stop reading if you don’t want to know what goes on)
You may not know that it is actually a radio show; the longest running radio show in America – 85 years they have been doing this show every Saturday night. Actually, they do the show on Friday as well but it is broadcast on XM/Sirius and local stations all over the country on Saturday night.
In May, 2009, there was an incredibly destructive flood of the Cumberland River that absolutely destroyed the area around the Opry as well as downtown Nashville. It has taken this long but the Opry is once again at its home in Opryland. During the hiatus, while work was being done to totally refurbish the arena, the Opry broadcast from the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville; the “mother church” of country music.
I was glad that Bob got to experience the Opry at its normal “home”. It has been beautifully done. The show lasts from 7-9:30 and what is so interesting is that, because it is a radio show, it has commercials with a live announcer. There are three segments of the show; each with its own “host” who is generally a legend of old time country music. The first host was Little Jimmy Dickens who is about 5 feet tall and is 89 years old. He sang but the best part of his portion of the show was his comedy. He was so funny, I was in tears and Bob was laughing so hard at jokes that were not vulgar or gross but just plain funny. Then there were several other acts and between each, a commercial. During the commercials, all the stage hands would be changing the set up of the stage for the next performer.
One of the hosts was Riders in the sky; a four person group dressed like duded up cowboys with chaps and hats and fancy shirts. They were fabulous music wise but also funnier than hell. During one of the commercials, one of the guys, “Too Slim” kept trying to make the announcer laugh while reading the commercial and he was so funny that everyone but the announcer was laughing although ultimately, he did something so outrageous (I think it was making shadow critters with his hands) that the announcer did start to laugh. Really wonderful watching what goes on on stage.
The performers, old and younger were awesome. Not a lot of glitz but great voices, great harmonies and a wonderful rapport with the audience. They have big screens so everyone can see closeups but what is really terrific about the Opry is that they permit anyone to come right up to the foot of the stage and take photos of the performers; no matter who the performer is. Often during the commercials, the performers would come to the front of the stage and shake people’s hands, etc. It was great.
We only had a small camera because I did not recall that you were allowed to take these close photos but Bob got some pretty good shots. We saw Josh Thompson who is an up and coming star of modern country. His song lyrics were “this house is protected by the good Lord and a gun and you may see both if you’re not welcome, son.” The song is titled “Down Here”. Bob has been singing that (unfortunately) since we left the show.
Rascal Flatts was awesome. Seriously, though, these guys can just sing and harmonize without a lot of special effects. They sang three songs. All in all, a great night. To give you an idea of how much Bob enjoyed it, he ranked it up there with Carlsbad Caverns, Antelope Canyon and the hike into Negro Bill Canyon as his favorite things we did during the entire trip. Apologies to our friends and relatives….of course you guys were the highlights but you know what I am trying to say.
So, even if you hate country music, you MUST go once in your lives if you are ever in Nashville.