Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Grand Ole Opry 2/26 & 2/27---Updated

A few changes in this weekend's line-up. After being originally advertised as being on both shows this weekend, Marty Stuart will not be. Don't know why. Vince Gill has been added on Friday night, so that is a good trade-off. A couple of changes on Saturday night, with Jim Ed Brown now hosting a segment and Dailey & Vincent moving to an earlier slot. The line-up below reflects the updates.

The Grand Ole Opry has announced their line-up for this weekend's shows at the Opry House. There is one show on Friday night and one show on Saturday night. The thing that stands out this week is that the Opry has added an intermission to the Saturday night show. In my opinion, things just keep getting worse at the Opry. I have written before about the shorter shows, cutting to one Saturday show, no television and now a Saturday intermission. I just think that it changes the flow of the show and the way it is presented. Taking a 15 minute break during a radio show? I just don't know.

As far as the line-up this week, Josh Tompson is making his first Opry appearance, and he will be joined by Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert on the Friday night show. On Saturday night, The Band Perry makes a return appearance, along with Dailey & Vincent and Jimmy Wayne. Jewel was originally scheduled for Saturday night, but has cancelled. I know that she was on WWE's Monday Night Raw this past Monday as a guest host and was on crutches with a foot injury. Not sure if that had something to do with it.

Now for the line-ups
Friday February 26
7:00: John Conlee(host); The Whites; Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Josh Thompson
7:30: Jimmy Dickens(host); Jean Shepard; Del McCoury Band
8:15: Bill Anderson(host); Mike Snider; Blake Shelton
8:45: Vince Gill(host); Connie Smith; Miranda Lambert

Saturday February 27
7:00: Jimmy Dickens(host); Jimmy C. Newman; The Band Perry
7:30: Jeannie Seely(host); Jack Greene; Dailey & Vincent
8:15: Jim Ed Brown(host); Connie Smith; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Bill Anderson(host); Jan Howard; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Jimmy Wayne

The Opry is resuming their Tuesday Night Opry, starting this coming Tuesday March 2. Here is the line-up for that show:
7:00 Jim Ed Brown
7:30: Jean Shepard; Del McCoury Band
8:45: Bill Anderson; Chris Young
8:45: Jimmy Dickens; Aaron Tippin

It will be interesting to see how Jimmy Dicken's voice holds out, doing both weekend shows and then the Tuesday Night Opry. I know that usually on the weekend, he sounds pretty good on Friday, but is a little weaker on Saturday night. Now adding Tuesday night. It was nice to see that he made a personal appearance in Florida last weekend with Jack Greene. He must be doing better to have done a road show.


  1. One thing I would say is that if they are determined to have intermissions which I agree are ridiculous and only another attempt to squeeze more money out of people's pockets at the refreshment stand and gift shop, is they should keep Eddie Stubbs/Mike Terry live during the intermission interviewing folks in the audience and reading dedications. They waste too much valuable time during the show reading birthdays, anniversarys etc. that mean nothing to everyone other than the one having the anniversary/birthday. They could do all of this during the intermission and then waste less time during the actual show during this. When I was at the Wheeling Jamboree, I believe they read dedications, etc. during the intermission. Prairie Home Companion has a 5 min intermission and then Garrison spends a few minutes reading dedications etc. This playing records during the 15 min is a joke and the cheap way out and it does nothing to entertain the radio audience and again at $55+ dollars a ticket, I personally don't like my valuable show time wasted while the announcers rattle on about who is in the audience.

  2. I attended the Orange Blossom Opry performance last Saturday and was pleasantly surprised at how well Little Jim did. His voice was weak but he still sang 2-3 songs in addition to a comedy routine. He was amazing! Jean Shepard was great but having a little trouble with her voice. As for Jack Greene, he gave one of the best shows I have seen in many years! No banter between songs but he just belted 'em out one right after the other. Just for the record - he's still got "it!"

  3. Thanks for the report on the Orange Blossom Opry. I will say that I have always been amazed at how well Jack Greene sounds, especially at the age of 80. When he sings "There Goes My Everything" or Statue of a Fool" on the Opry, he always gets a great ovation.

    I also agree with the ideal of reading the dedications during the intermission. It seems like someone is always having a birthday or an anniversary, and I agree, use the down time for that.

  4. Here's what they should do with intermissions: get rid of them. It's that simple.

    What Pete Fisher and his bosses don't seem to understand is that while country is less country than it used to be--the rural South is far less isolated than it was even a quarter of a century ago--part of the Opry's charm is its history. That history includes things like commercials, and people wandering in and out. It has become too "produced."

    Funny thing, if you consider Opry history. The stage manager, and real manager, of the Opry for decades was Vito Pelleteri. He ran that show. He came out of popular music, and HE got it. So why can't the people running the place now?

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  6. I know all of us on here hate the intermission idea. I know the primary reason for them is to encourage the audience to get up and buy stuff. I don’t believe that that is something fans have asked for in surveys. I really wonder financially just how much things are down because the changes they have made over the last couple years give the impression they are becoming desperate. You wonder if they are just trying to maintain status quo and year to year to year typical, fair margins or there is just a squeeze underway to drain the show of every last penny they can squeeze off it.

    In regards to the intermission, one of the big problems with this is that the Opry is already full of mini-intermissions called commercials that last anywhere from 2-3 minutes throughout the show. The intermission just creates more dead time. I wonder if that is why we never saw intermissions prior to the last few months because previous management understood this.

    Bottom line: there was nothing wrong with the Opry format that had been successful for 80+ years. It was a fast paced show that moved and that was part of the magic.

    That being said, if they are bound and determined to have intermissions, they need to take care of the paper work during them and give us more show during the 2 hours of actual show and less talk from Eddie Stubbs and Mike Terry outside of commercials.

    To add to this, I can live with intermissions, I can live with the reduction of artists per show to the 13-14 we now have, I can even live with the 2 hour show for the increased ticket prices. But, and I have told Byron this, I have made up my mind, if management cuts the show any more, say 15 more minutes off the show and make them 2 hour shows including intermissions(and I would bet the farm this has already crossed management's mind) I would no make my 6-8 visits a year. It just will no longer be worth the drive or effort. They may see me once a year. . .maybe. I hate to have to say this because I do love the Opry.

  7. As they cut the length of the shows, the number of shows and raise the price of tickets, they make it tough for the real country music and Opry fans to want to attend the show. In years past, the 8 hour drive went a lot faster when you knew that you would see a 3+ hour show on Friday night and 2 shows on Saturday, all at a reasonable price. It makes for a tough decision to drive that far to see 1 show on Friday and 1 on Saturday, each only 2 hours with 10 performers.

    Since some of us have been talking about the ticket prices, I thought I would run some numbers past everyone, based on some of the ticket stubbs I have saved. Listed below are a couple of years and the ticket prices that were charged:
    (2001 is when they started the Gold Circle seating where it cost a lot more to have a seat close to the stage. There was also a change in 2005 on how the sales tax was computed when buying a ticket).

  8. I don't know why the lower ticket price in 2006, although that price was from a winter show. The split price in 2005 showed the difference between a gold circle seat and a seat further in the back. The majority of the ticket prices were based on what was charged during the annual birthday shows in October.

  9. Crazy. That is a 150% increase on the Gold Circle Seating from 1999 to 2010. Wish my salary had increased even a quarter of that 150% in those 10 short years. . .It just shows the insanity. And that show in 1999 was 150% more value for the money that what we get nowadays.

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  12. I just talked to someone who talked to someone else who was at the Friday Night Opry last week and apparently vendors were hawking Cokes and food during the show itself. Can anyone confirm this? I know they have always hawked Picture History books and maybe even food before the show but I don't think I can remember them actually hawking stuff in the audience during the show. Get ya peanuts, Coke Cola, Candy and Cracker Jacks. . .

  13. First I have heard about that!!! You would have to think that it was during the intermission. It makes you wonder if they are starting to treat the Opry like a baseball game!! If it is ture, that would be just crazy.

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  15. Well, the impression I got third hand was that it was during the show, vendors were in the aisles selling stuff. However, it may have been during the intermission. Will give it the benefit of the doubt until I see it first hand or get it second hand. It just seems they are looking for additional revenue streams in every nook and cranny they can find at present.

    I was just looking at the 4th Q Gaylord numbers released a couple of weeks ago. You may have talked about this already. Apologize if I am rehashing.

    It may shed some light. . .Not being privy to the inside scoop and looking at the numbers and guidiance provided, the Opry and Attractions segment had income from Operations of 5.6 million for 2008, while this segment had a income from operations of 4.0 million in 2009(subtracting the impairment charge for Corporate Magic), a 30% drop.

    Even more revealing is that Gaylord is giving guidiance to Wall Street that the Opry and Attractions will do operating income of 6-7 million in 2010, an approx 50% increase over 09.

    Looking at numbers can be tricky because we are only looking at what is provided by GET. Op Income tells you only so much, but clearly they are projecting far far better operating results in 2010 than they were able to achieve in 09 or even 08 against an economy that stinks.

    Another interesting point I would make regarding the Opry and Attractions segment. It is only 7.5% of Gaylord's revenues and 10% of its Operating Income in 2009. I will leave that in light of the gutting of the Opry that is happening up for discussion.

    Get ya peanuts, Coke Cola, Cracker Jacks. . .

  16. I know that the Opry attendance was down last year. Obviously cutting the 2nd show on Saturday for a majority of the year hurt that, and adding the Thursday night show did not make up for the lost attendance from the Saturday show.

    I know in talking to the hotel people around Opryland, that travel is down as is the convention business, and with most of the Opry audience coming from out of town, that hurts. (Visit Nashville in January or February and see what I mean).

    The local population just does not come out in big numbers to the Opry unless there really is something special going on.

    Gaylord must figure that the economy will get better and travel to Nashville will increase. That has to be where they are figuring the increased revenue will come from. Or, they think that a TV contract might happen. Or, then again, there might be another ticket price increase coming).

    Gaylord keeps the actual attendance numbers a pretty close secret, but it is just my feeling and from what I can see, since the park closed and with one less reason for a family to vacation in Nashville, that the park closing has really affected Opry attendance.

    Oh by the way, Sunny Sweeney has been added to the Saturday night Opry. I am sure that will now guarantee a sell-out!!!

  17. Yeah, Saturday is really weak. Big difference on paper this week, Friday vs. Saturday.

    Let's hope a TV contract is coming, but I'm betting mid-year ticket price increase, or further gutting of the program. I don't think selling more Cokes and Candies are going to do a 50% increase in op income year to year.

    I know at its peak in the late 80s/early 90s when the park was going strong, they were running 9 shows a week at the Opry in the summer and I can recall they officially reported one year, attendence of around 950,000+. Seems like I saw somewhere or heard within the last couple of years that attendence for that year was around or just shy of 500,000. They would have to average around 2500 or so each show this year to acheive that. Shutting Opryland killed attendence as did the deaths of so many of the legends in the late 90s and early 00s, and the additional competition for tourist dollars.

  18. For those who went to the Grand Ole Opry on Saturday night, or listened to it on the radio, for the two hour show (two hours and fifteen minutes including intermission), the actual musical content was one hour and forty minutes. The rest was commercials and talking between acts. Not a lot of music for $54.00. That is one of the things that has got to change. There is getting to be more and more down time between acts and less music being played.

  19. I suspect the management thinks attention spans are different than they used to be, and they are. But they shorten the shows instead of realizing, they need to have MORE action.

    I listened to most of last night's show. The Potato sounded a bit rocky on his opening song but much better at the end. Jeannie Seely's updated version of "Are You Lonesome Tonight?" was priceless. And I think Dailey & Vincent were great guests and I am betting that they are future members as the bluegrass acts age (I hope Rhonda Vincent is first, speaking of bluegrass acts named Vincent).

    On the warmup show, Bill Anderson told about writing "Double S" as a poem just for fun and Buddy Killen convincing him that it would be great. It was just a poem, Bill said, and there's no music for it. Killen said, "There will be in a minute!"