The Grand Ole Opry returned tonight to the Grand Ole Opry House for the first time since the floods in May. The big news of the night, besides the Opry House opening was that, as speculated by myself and others, Blake Shelton was offered membership into the Grand Ole Opry. Of course he accepted and the actual induction will take place later in October. Congratulations to Blake and I hope that he will give the Opry the attention it deserves.
Now for some observations from tonight and the GAC-TV coverage:
The televised portion was from 8-10pm central time, but the show actually started at 7. The show started with Brad Paisley and Jimmy Dickens back stage at the mail box and then walking up to the green room, giving us some views of backstage. Then they were shown behind the red curtain and the camera switched to the front, with the curtain up and the two of them on stage. Brad started singing, "Will The Circle Be Unbroken", and also as speculated by myself earlier in the day, as he sang the first line of the song, the lights on stage came on and the Opry members who were there came walking on stage, singing along. Many of the Opry's veteran members were included in this and among the ones I saw on stage were Jack Greene, Jean Shepard, Jan Howard, Jim Ed Brown, The Whites, Ray Pillow, Marty Stuart, Ricky Skaggs and Riders In The Sky. I also saw Mel McDaniel walking out with assistance from Charlie Daniels. I also saw Charlie Louvin walking out with assistance. I thought I saw Wilma Lee Cooper coming out in a wheel chair. Others that I saw included Terri Clark, Joe Diffie, John Conlee, Jeannie Seely, Bill Anderson, Martina McBride, Charlie Daniels, Lorrie Morgan, Steve Wariner, Dierks Bentley, Montgomery Gentry, Josh Turner and Del McCoury.(I am sure I might have missed a couple). Connie Smith sang the 2nd verse of the song.
That was pretty much the last we saw of the majority of the veterans and of Jimmy Dickens the rest of the night. We were treated to songs by Blake Shelton, Jason Aldean, Keith Urban, Martina McBride, who also sang a duet with Connie Smith, Josh Turner, who also sang a duet with Lorrie Morgan(was it just me or did others notice how Lorrie was dressed and how she looked?), Trace Adkins, Dierks Bentley, who also did a song with Del McCoury, Charlie Daniels and Montgomery Gentry, Brad Paisley, a duet with Trace Adkins and Blake Shelton, which included the invitation to join the Opry from Trace after the song ended, and then the show ended with a guitar pull featuring Ricky Skaggs, Steve Wariner and Marty Stuart.
As expected, the televised show was heavy with the younger talent and featured a few moments with the Opry's veteran artists. There were also several features regarding the flood and the damage to the area, with a nice segment on Jeannie Seely. Nan Kelley hosted the GAC segment and did a fine job, reporting from various areas of the Opry House, and giving us many views of the updates backstage. It looks like many historical pictures are up on the walls and the dressing rooms have been completely updated. We also were treated to a message from President Obama, Collin Reed and Karl Dean, the Mayor of Nashville.
My major complaint of the television coverage, and this is nothing new with GAC, was the number of commercials. For the first hour, we had 1 song followed by about 3 minutes of commercial time. Hopefully those in the Opry House were entertained during those segments. It just made the show drag. In fact, it felt more like I was watching a televised concert special than an Opry show. The other item that I will mention is that the opening number that was on GAC was actually the opening number when the show started at 7. In other words, that part of the show was on tape delay. That was not noted on the broadcast.
Overall, it was a nice show that showed the Opry House reopening, while focusing on the younger members of the Opry. My wife was watching the show with me and her comments overall had to do with the Opry members that were not there and the fact that many of the Opry's members that have supported the Opry over the last several years, such as Marty Stuart, Ricky Skaggs, Steve Wariner and several others, were reduced to the role of supporting cast members to some of the Opry's members who are rarely at the Opry.
Oh, and the first hour that was only on WSM was excellent, featuring some of the Opry's veterans. While opry.com streamed the televised portion that was on GAC, it would have been nice if they had also streamed the first hour. Bill Anderson hosted the first segment and he noted that he had hosted the last segment at the Opry House before the flood and was glad that he was given the opportunity to host the first segment back.
Welcome back home Grand Ole Opry!!!