Sunday, September 26, 2010

Grand Ole Opry House Return

As we all know, the Opry will be returning to the Opry House on Tuesday night. The Tennessean had a nice article on line today regarding the return, and there was a quote from Grand Ole Opry Vice-President and General Manager Pete Fisher that I found interesting and gave me some thought:

"This lineup we have on the 28th will probably go down in history as one of the greatest in the Opry's history. But I have to say I've found this to be one of the easiest shows to book. It's just another example of how artists give back to the community and the Opry as a whole. It's going to be great to see the Opry House come back to life adn the circle back to life."

While my history with the Opry does not go back to the beginning of the Opry, I will say that the line-up for this Tuesday night is impressive. Just my opinion, but I think that the best Opry lineup in history would have to go to the first Opry show held at the new Opry House, back in March of 1974. That show had virtually every Opry member.

Another contender would have to be the 75th anniversary show in 2000. That entire weekend had great lineups, but the Saturday first show might have been the best in recent memory. If you remember, that show included Garth Brooks, Dolly Parton, Vince Gill, Alison Krauss, Porter Wagoner, Marty Stuart, Ricky Van Shelton, Pam Tillis, Jimmy Dickens and so many more.
A couple of other shows I would put up on the list was the 50th anniversary show and also the first show that was on PBS, back in the late 70's.

The other comment that I found interesting was when Pete said how easy it was to book the show. Is he saying that a normal Opry show is hard to book? Just wondering. Also, with the number of artists missing on Tuesday night who are Opry members, did he have to say no to some of them? Again, just wondering. I will be watching and listening to the Tuesday night show and one of the more interesting things for me will be to see how he fits in all the artists on the televised portion, as I am sure that is where most of them will want to be on.

Looking at the Opry schedule for October, it looks like there are going to be some impressive shows coming up. The month looks loaded and I am sure many more are going to be added. Most of the month will have 2 Saturday night shows and I am happy to see that. That will mean no more intermissions, at least for a while.


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  2. Hey Byron

    Do you have that lineup for the 50th Anniversary show? I have never seen that. As you know, I was there for Friday and Saturday of the 75th and Saturday of that weekend would hold its own with Tuesday's show.

    I would agree from what I have read/know(I was only nine at the time) that 1974 Opening night was probably the greatest lineup ever. Definitely the PBS shows were pretty loaded too.

    I would add that I have seen and have many programs from the 40s and the 50s on routine Saturday that were pretty spectacular. When the members were expected to be at the Opry most weekends that made for a lot of strong lineups full of the stars of the day.

    You have to wonder though, in future years whether you'll get anything again as strong as Tuesday looks to be on paper. Maybe the 100th?

  3. Byron and I have been hoping for years that we could find a tape of that PBS telecast. I remember watching it. What a night!

    I share Byron's displeasure with Fisher's comment, and said so on the Tennessean blog. However he meant it, it reeked of the attitude that "the weekend shows have too many of the older, useless members I'm trying to keep off, and I can't get the new superstars who make the show worthwhile." I am not saying that was his meaning. I am saying he should know better.

  4. I have the 50th line-up somewhere, and I will post it when I can locate it in my files. It may not be until the end of next week. But, if I remember right, all the Opry members were there, except for maybe 4 or 5. It was quite a line-up.

    I am still trying to locate that PBS tape and I will gladly share it if I can ever locate it. I have found bits and pieces, but it just seems like a lost relic. From a historical perspective, I cannot believe that whoever owns the tape has not put it out on a dvd. I will also post that line-up in the near future.

    I would hope that Pete Fisher did not mean anything in his comment other than the fact that maybe he, like the Opry General Managers before him, has a hard time getting the bigger name Opry members to appear. And, I do know that he tries to balance his shows.

    Regarding Tuesday night, I am hearing that the televised portion may start out with all the Opry members who are there on stage with an opening number. I good guess would be, "Will The Circle Be Unbroken." Like I said, just a guess, and a group number like that would get many of the Opry members on stage who would not be other wise included in the telecast. If you remember when the Opry House opened, after Roy Acuff's number, the entire cast came out.

    Finally, there have been several comments regarding the quality of the line-up for the 75th anniversary show. Just for the heck of it, I am posting the line-up for everyone.

    Friday October 13, 2000
    6:30: Jeannie Seely; Jim Ed Brown; The Whites; Hal Ketchum; Jack Greene
    7:00: Porter Wagoner; Connie Smith; Bill Carlisle; Jeanne Pruett; Diamond Rio
    7:30: Steve Wariner; Holly Dunn; Del Reeves; Ronnie Milsap
    8:00: Bill Anderson; Jan Howard; Jimmy C. Newman; Alison Krauss
    8:30: Jimmy Dickens; Osborne Brothers; Martina McBride; Garth Brooks

    9:30: Porter Wagoner; Jim Ed Brown; Billy Walker; Jack Greene; Diamond Rio
    10:00: Jimmy Dickens; Hal Ketchum; Ernie Ashworth; Del Reeves; Connie Smith
    10:30: Steve Wariner; Osborne Brothers; Charlie Louvin; Jeanne Pruett; Alison Kruass
    11:00: Bill Anderson; Jimmy C. Newman; Hank Locklin; Garth Brooks
    11:30: Charlie Walker; Stu Phillips; Holly Dunn; Mel McDaniel

    Saturday October 14, 2000
    6:30: Jeannie Seely; Connie Smith; Bill Carlisle; Lorrie Morgan
    7:00: Porter Wagoner; Marty Stuart; Travis Tritt; Riders In The Sky
    7:30: Jimmy Dickens; Pam Tillis Trisha Yearwood; Loretta Lynn
    8:00: Vince Gill; Alison Krauss; Dolly Parton; Opry Square Dance Band; Melvin Sloan Dancers
    8:30: Jean Shepard; Ricky Van Shelton; Steve Wariner; Garth Brooks

    9:30: Porter Wagoner; Marty Stuart; Wilma Lee Cooper; Alison Krauss
    10:00: Jimmy Dickens; Pam Tillis; Skeeter Davis; Ronnie Milsap
    10:30: Vince Gill; Ralph Stanley; Lorrie Morgan; Jack Greene; Opry Square Dance Band; Melvin Sloan Dancers
    11:00: Riders In The Sky; Jean Shepard; Ricky Van Shelton; Steve Wariner
    11:30: Johnny Russell; Jan Howard; Ray Pillow; Charlie Walker; Garth Brooks

    The 2nd show that night ended at 1:20am.

  5. Tonight's show has 25 acts listed to perform and everyone is saying what a loaded line-up it is. Makes me think that just a few years ago, 25 acts would have been the number on a typical Opry show.

    How times have changed!!