Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Reba McEntire Returning To The Opry

The Grand Ole Opry has announced that Reba McEntire will be performing on the Opry on May 9th. It has sure been a long time since she has been on the Opry stage. Glad to see her return and let's hope that it will be the start of some regular appearances. The Opry has said that she will be performing 4 songs.


  1. I noticed, too, that she will be on an added segment at 9 p.m., since the Opry has gone back to one show each Saturday night. I think that might be potentially a good way to get some of the bigger names back at the Opry--giving them more songs to do. What do you think? I have thought it would have been nice to stick with the 2:30 shows and maybe have one segment that would feature one big-name artist.

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  4. I like the added segment idea as I was really disappointed when they went to 2 hours last year while at the same time continue to up the ticket price. I also think it is a great idea to give the biggest names 3 or 4 songs when they are on because they do help sell "some" of the tickets, even when the show is 2 hours. As we talked about in a previous blog entry, the way they did Rascal Flatts last Saturday giving them 4 songs was OK. However, they need to stop it at that.

    Keep in mind that it is the Grand Ole Opry, not a Reba McEntire or Rascal Flatts concert and it is the name Grand Ole Opry and its successful format that has sold the tickets for 84 years.

    I can pay $30 or $40 dollars to see Reba or Rascal Flatts pay an hour or an hour and a half at my local casino or concert venue(they have both been thru my area in the last year), instead of driving 6 hours round trip and paying $50+ to see them play a concert at the Opry. I pay to see the Opry because of what it is: a live variety radio show with sponsered segments that each feature 3 or 4 artists. It is the variety and the format of the show that has kept people coming for 84 years. Again, 3 or 4 songs played by a superstar artist is a good thing for the Opry and is within the format, anything more than that is overkill and kills the format.

    If the Opry ever became primarily focused on just a single artist each week say in a one hour concert format it would no longer be the Opry and would be no longer relevant(it would be a shell of what it once was) and no different than what I can drive a few minutes to see near my home. I cite as evidence here the Wheeling Jamboree as what would happen to the Opry if it ever went that direction.

  5. Mll (if you are using your birthdate, you are about two months younger than I am), I like your point. I wouldn't mind a 30-minute concert or a Tuesday Night Opry-style two performers in 30 minutes if they are big stars AND it's added to the two-hour show, as opposed to further reducing the time and appearances of the Opry's greats.

  6. Sorry for the delay in responding to the various comments and in offering my follow-up opinion as I was traveling on the road and did not have my computer handy. Just some thoughts: The Opry has done segments before where there was 1 artist featured. Either a year or two ago, GAC and the Opry gave an hour segment to Brad Paisley. And, if you want to look at it that way, Marty Robbins basically had his own segment on the 11:30 shows. Now, back to the Reba deal: At first I did not like it, but after thinking it over a bit, I kind of am "ok" with the extra segment devoted to 1 superstar artist. Of course, the Opry can do this, as for the next 4 weeks, it is back to only 1 show on Saturday nights.(Why they are doing this in May I do not understand, as attendance is generally not an issue this time of the year). I wonder if this was part of the deal in getting Reba back on the Opry. Also, if this does set a pattern for something the Opry might do in the future, how would they consider what artists to give an entire segment to without causing bad feelings among other Opry members. (Would Carrie Underwood be the next to ask for her own half hour and then Loretta Lynn gets hurt feelings? Or how do Opry members feel about a non-Opry act getting to do 4 songs like Rascal Flatts did?) Just some thoughts!! The thing that I did find kind of funny in the press release was Reba saying that she was looking forward to getting back to the Opry to see her Opry friends. She better check, as since the last time she was on the Opry, then number of entertainers per show has dropped from about 20 to 12. There will be less friends for her to visit with!!

  7. Hi Michael and Byron

    Yes, Michael, I am using my birthdate so we are close in age. Nice to meet you and Byron and get to converse with other Opry fans. I have been to 300 Opry shows and have been going to/listening to the Opry "regularly" for 35 years.

    I got to see Marty Robbins twice at the Opry(the first time though, I was only 2 months old). The thing about the 11:30 concerts he gave was that at least 2 or 3 other acts were also scheduled in that last half hour (that were introduced by the announcer for that portion) with Marty and he took it on himself to extend the fun.

    Sounds like we are in agreement in regards to turning the Opry into a concert. Again, we can probably all go see a Vince, Carrie or a Brad or a Reba do their concert when they tour close to our homes. On the other hand, we cannot see the Grand Ole Opry and its unique format anywhere but Nashville. I just think it would speed the end of the Opry up if you start giving 1 performer anymore than 3 or 4 songs on any given show.

    Regarding my reference above to the WWVA Wheeling Jamboree, it got away from its traditional format and went to a big name star format. It is now dead and gone. I was there a couple of times in the 1990s and it was kinda of sad to see it be the shell of what it once was. The first 45 mins of the show was in a format similar to how it had been in the past in its glory days(pretty much like the Opry format)with 4 or 5 acts each doing 2 or 3 songs, this first 45 mins had radio commercials, WWVA announcers etc. Although, it was a taste of what it once had been, they were just giving token favor to the past. After a 15 min intermission (Opry country classics anyone??) the last hour of the Jamboree in its later years was a full concert by a Roy Clark, Marty Stuart, Lorrie Morgan etc. There were no commercials in the last half of the show, just a straight concert(although it was on the radio), and you wouldn't even have known you were at a radio show.

    As I said the WWVA Jamboree finally went down the tubes and to the Barn Dance graveyard a year or two ago and although there has been an attempt to revive it, for all practical purposes it is down the toilet.

    Would hate to see the Opry ever go that way...

  8. Thanks for mentioning the WWVA Jamboree. I was lucky to attend quite a few shows there at the Captial Music Hall. I always remembered that WWVA had their studios right off the mail lobby of the theater. So many stars were part of the Jamboree, the most recent being Brad Paisley. I know that his Dad was part of the group trying to get it going again at the old Victoria theater. I also remember the weekend the Jamboree brought in Johnny Cash. This was right around 1974 when he was huge and they ended up having 2 shows on Friday; 3 shows on Saturday; and 2 more shows on Sunday to accomadate the crowds. Once Clear Channel bought WWVA and changed the format to news and talk, and the fact that Live-Nation, the concert arm of Clear Channel did not want to put any money into fixing Capital Music Hall, the jamboree was basically finished. They still have the Jamboree in the Hills. I was able to go to the very first one, and that is the only one I have attended. At the time, it was unique as being among the first of the outdoor music festivals involving country music stars. Obviously, it has been a big success over the years.

  9. No problem. I actually saw a young Brad Paisley perform there on one of the shows I saw. IMHO, too, in addition to what CC did, I think it just eventually became another place to watch a concert(like 100s of other places in the US). I would guess many people at the tail end of its run didn't go because it was "the Jamboree" but because of there favorite star being in concert there. By the time I went, they had reduced the cast portion to 45 mins, and it consisted of local unknowns, like a young Paisley.