Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Grand Ole Opry Line-Up 2/19 & 2/20

The Grand Ole Opry has announced their line-up for the shows this weekend. It is a pretty good line-up of stars including Montgomery Gentry, Dierks Bentley and Marty Stuart. Also, no Jimmy Dickens this weekend.

But, the big news to me and the thing that caught my eye is that they have added an intermission to the Friday night show!!! In my mind, and after seeing the intermission added on the Tuesday night and Thursday night shows, it was just a matter of time until they started messing with the weekend shows. At least for this week, there is no intermission listed for the Saturday night show. But for how long, and why add an intermission to just the Friday show? I think they are testing it out and seeing how it works out and eventually it will get added on Saturday night. Once you start doing that, you are really messing with the flagship show.

In the surveys that they probably did, the response back from the ticket buyers was that an intermission was a good idea so that none of the show would be missed while they went out and bought refreshments or went to the restroom. But, with the video monitors in the refreshment areas and even in the restrooms, nobody was missing anything. By adding an intermission, management is encouraging the customers to leave their seats and spend more money, which is probably the idea.

I love the tradition of the Grand Ole Opry. Over the past several years, Pete Fisher or whoever is making the final decisions, have raised ticket prices to an extremely high level, have shortened the length of the shows, have cut out the 2nd Saturday show on most weekends and have reduced the number of artists performing per show. Now, an intermission is added. They always say before each show that the Opry is a radio show and not a concert. By adding an intermission, management is treating an Opry performance more like a concert than a radio show. I just don't like it!!!

Now for this weekend's line-ups:
Friday February 19
7:00: Diamond Rio(host); Riders In The Sky; Del McCoury Band
7:30: John Conlee(host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Craig Morgan
8:15: Bill Anderson(host); Charlie Louvin; Montgomery Gentry
8:45: Mike Snider(host); Jim Ed Brown; Dierks Bentley

Saturday February 20
7:00: Riders In The Sky(host); The Whites; Tracy Lawrence
7:30: Mike Snider(host); Jan Howard; Jim Ed Brown; Kellie Pickler
8:00: Marty Stuart(host); Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Connie Smith; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Bill Anderson(host); Stonewall Jackson; Jeannie Seely; Craig Morgan

One other thing that I have noticed for the past several months. In the segments where there is a legend as the only guest along with a "star" performer, they are only letting the legend do 1 song. Let's see if they do that again this week with Charlie Louvin, Jesse McReynolds and Bobby Osborne. I think if they are tight on time, they use this time period to catch up. But, I also noticed that the week I attended, the final segment had Jesse McReynolds and the Oak Ridge Boys as guests, and Jesse McReynolds did one number while the Oak Ridge Boys did 3. Just something to watch for.


  1. One note about The Potato. He is doing a road gig! Jack Greene's Facebook site talks about him doing the Orange Blossom Opry in Florida with Jimmy Dickens and Jeannie Seely. So, a good reason for him to be out.

    I agree completely about the intermission and only one song for the legend. As to the intermission, I think it's partly for concession purposes, but also because I think they believe--and it goes back to why the length of the shows has been cut--the public's attention span is too short. That's ridiculous, but I really think it's a factor.

    I also hate to end up saying that my continuous criticism of Pete Fisher is correct ... but it's correct. The damage he has done to the Opry may never be repaired.

  2. Regarding Pete Fisher: I met him once several years ago, kind of a meet and greet, and he seemed like a nice person who really cares about the Opry. I think a lot of what is happening is pressure being put on him to make sure that the Opry stays profitable. After all, Gaylord Entertainment is a publically traded company and the stockholders expect results.

    I know that the whole thinking with Gaylord changed the day that Gaylord went from being a private company to a stockholder company and that the focus became more on the bottom line. When the Opry was part of National Life, it was operated more for fun and entertainment.

    Things change and not always for the better. That said, I think if you look at the whole 10+ years of Pete operating the Opry, I would give him a letter grade of "B-". While I disagree with lots of his decisions, he has guided the Opry through a tough time and he has made some tough decisions to try to better the show and make it more enjoyable and relevant to the general public.