There was a CMT blog posted today that I read, and also one of my loyal readers pointed out to me, that was headlined, "When Opry Reopens, Who Should Perform First?" In the blog, the author states that the Opry hopes to reopen the Opry House on October 1. And then she goes on and asks the question, "who will have the honor of being the very first country artist to take stage when they are back in business?"
She goes on to list a few names including Garth Brooks, Brad Paisley, Dolly Parton, George Jones, Carrie Underwood, Alan Jackson, Reba McEntire and Trace Adkins. She also goes on to list others that she would like to see on that opening night including Martina McBride, Randy Travis, Josh Turner adn Dierks Bentley.
Now, I am not going to jump on the author of that blog, but she apparently has no concept of Opry history or tradition. Of all the artists that she named Randy Travis, Reba McEntire and Alan Jackson have been missing in action from the Opry. In fact, Reba has appeared only once in the last decade. Alan is good for once a year and Randy once every five years. Just ridiculous to even think of any of those entertainers being the first to reopen the Opry House.
But it did get me to thinking, who should be on that opening night? I have a couple of thoughts. If you remember when the Grand Ole Opry House opened, every Opry member was invited to perform on that first show and just about every Opry member was present. They appeared that night alphabetically, with Roy Acuff as the first performer. Each artist, whether an older veteran or a newer star, was treated equally and sang one song each. That first show lasted over 3 hours and everyone was happy. In fact, I don't recall anyone complaining how long the show was or any negative comments about any of the performers.
And, I think that the grand reopening of the Opry House should be handled the exact same way. Every Opry member should be invited to be on the show and they should follow that opening night tradition, and should perform alphabetically and one song each. But, I would also make one exception. I would allow Jimmy Dickens, as the oldest Opry member, the honor of being the first out on the new stage. He deserves that. Certainly more than Randy Travis or Reba McEntire.
Now, we know that what I have proposed will not happen. In today's modern Opry, it will probably be only a 2 hour show, with very few Opry veterans, but plenty of hot superstars, like Alan Jackson and others.
If it is to be a regular 2 hour Opry show, so be it. But, I would limit the performers to only those who have supported the show over the past number of years, while many of the superstar performers have vanished. I would include Vince Gill, Marty Stuart, Ricky Skaggs, Carrie Underwood, who has made regular appearances since she became a member, and the others who have supported the show. And, I would include plenty of Opry legends, those who built the Opry and upheld the Opry's tradition.
One other thing: I would only allow Opry members to be on that first show. There is no reason for special guests to clutter things up and soak in the publicity and glory that will come with the reopening.
Yes, it will be televised and there will be television specials involved (count on it!). And that will influence who is on. But, I hope that Pete Fisher and the Opry make the right decisions on who will appear on that opening night of the Opry House.
Those are my thoughts. I am interested to hear yours.