After watching tonight's Tuesday Night Opry on opry.com, I wanted to offer my observations and opinions on what I saw tonight.
First, let's look at what I view as the positives:
>I thought that the picture quality and sound were excellent and far better than the last attempt at a live video stream of the Opry when Carrie Underwood was on.
>It was great that they showed the Opry as it was actually taking place, uninterrupted, on the Ryman stage. There was no Nan Kelley or Storme Warren acting as an "tv" announcer. The show was shown straight through, including Eddie Stubbs being shown reading all of the commercials and introducing each segment and act.
>The Ryman Auditorium looked full, although I know that tickets were still on sale earlier today. Also, I was pleased that they used the backdrop that is used for Opry country classics and was used in previous years, instead of the mini-version of the backdrop that is used at the Opry house.
>All the artists were great, and they all played with their full road bands. If you have listened or been to the Opry lately, you know that Ricky Skaggs and Vince Gill have been appearing without their bands. Same with Steve Wariner when I saw him on the Opry in April. The crowd was also very enthusiastic.
Now for the negative:
>The show started out great with Steve Wariner, but as the show went into Ricky Skagg's segment, then buffering and video streaming problems started. I am not a computer expert, but I would suspect that many more people were trying to watch it tonight than the server could handle. And, I was not the only one with the issue as I went on the Opry's facebook page, and the Opry was acknowledging the problem and suggesting people go to a couple of different sites to watch it. But, the Opry should have anticipated that a high number of people would be interested in this broadcast and should have been prepared. I will say that the buffering and streaming problem seemed to get a little better when the jam started so maybe some of those watching finally quit watching or when to other sites because of the issues.
>On the video site, there was the option to join a chat. I did and it was not what I had expected. There were only around 15-20 people on it during the several times that I checked, and only a couple were actually chatting about the show. The others were just off on other things. Also from what I could tell, there was no moderator for the chat.
>The jam at the end was good but it consisted of only 2 songs. I kept hoping that a guest star, such as Jimmy Dickens, would come out. Nobody did.
>Finally, the Opry only televised 1 hour of what was a 2 hour show at the Ryman. The first hour included Jimmy Dickens, Bill Anderson and Jeannie Seely. Since the Opry was producing this show themselves and not having a network tell them who they could or could not put on, I don't understand why they did not include any legends. Of course, what are the chances that this hour would have been shown live if Steve, Ricky, Vince and Brad were not on the Opry tonight? The answer in none.
A couple of final observations:
They showed a little video at the end with Steve Buchanan showing some of the work and damage at the Opry house with some video taken backstage. There was nothing new to report on the damage. The Opry is supposed to announce in a couple of weeks their timetable for returning to the Opry House. Everything up until September has been moved to other sites. I think sometime in September might be a good guess, but I would not be suprised at all if they did not make it back until the birthday celebration in October. Either way, I expect a big, big weekend when they do return to the Opry House and billing it as a grand re-opening or a homecoming.
I noticed on the video site that Brad Paisley was appearing courtesy of Arista Nashville. None of the other artists were appearing courtesy of anyone. But that begs a couple of questions? Does Brad have to get Arista's permission to do the Opry or their permission to be televised while on the Opry? Or did Arista pick up a portion of Brad's pay for being on the Opry tonight while nobody picked up the Opry's cost for Steve, Ricky or Vince? Just a couple of questions, that is all. I know that all of the Opry's members are covered by the musician union's contract and the television and internet rights are covered in that contract, but I have never seen anyone appearing before courtesy of their record company.
I would love to see the Opry do this again. Obviously, they are experimenting with various ways to do a better job at getting the Opry out in the public eye and television continues to be a problem for them. Nobody wants to pay the price that Gaylord is asking to televise the show and there are few options available. I have said in the past that I would love for RFD-TV to try to work something out, but I have not heard anything in that regard. Doing an internet show is a great idea and I would love to see them continue to do it. I am sure that if they make the decision to do another of these shows, they will continue to work at making the presentation better. Just like this one was better than the first one that they did, I am sure the next one will be even better. And, if they were to show an entire Opry show every once in a while, even if it was just one time each year, I am sure most people would pay a reasonable cost to watch it. And, this gives everyone across the country an opportunity to see an Opry show.
Overall, I would give this show a thumbs up!!!!!