Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Reopening of Grand Ole Opry House/Blake Shelton/GAC-TV

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!!!


  1. I listened to the whole show on wsmonline and watched the tv program with the mute button on! In the past they have had the classic artists perform during commercials and they were the ones I was most interested in seeing or hearing so I didn't want to miss a thing. But last night during the televised commercials, the opry band played, which was great. The show was very good, but with all the opry members that were obviously present, it was disappointing to me that they gave several of the current big names a solo, then also a duet with a "regular" member of the opry cast. I really shouldn't complain since my favorite, Connie Smith, was featured in two of those duets, which totally surprised me, as she has seldom been included in the televised opry of recent years. But there were many there like The Whites and Riders in the Sky and Terri Clark, as well as others who are there week in and week out who only got to walk on at the beginning and were not featured on the radio or televised portion. During the "warm up" before the program when Mike Terry was interviewing Jan Howard, she said something about just "being in the picture" and I knew there was not time for everyone to perform even one song, but I didn't imagine they would give select few more than that one song. But all in all it was a great show. I'm glad I thought ahead to set record on the following program and didn't miss Marty and Ricky playing. The online program wasn't in sync with the TV, but I knew immediately who was playing. Brad and Keith's rock guitar solos don't hold a candle in my book to Marty's and Ricky's.

  2. I don't get GAC and couldn't get the video feed right away, so I missed the opening. I THOUGHT I saw Jimmy C. Newman there, too, but he missed Saturday night and if he missed last night, I'm worried. I couldn't see Mel McDaniel and Charlie Louvin in the crowd, or Wilma Lee Cooper, so I wondered how they looked.

    During the TV coverage, they had a lot of numbers by the Opry staff band, which is nice, but ....

    Byron, I should add, in my opinion, Lorrie Morgan is not capable of looking bad! But, yes, she was gorgeous. It was a great night in many ways.

  3. I was wrong--that was Jack Greene. I'm glad Jimmy is on the schedule. I also watched carefully on You Tube and saw the others I mentioned. Charlie looked like he was doing pretty well, but he clearly was a bit weak, since he was being helped. Mel McDaniel .... As for Wilma Lee Cooper, I had seen a feature on You Tube that a TV station in Knoxville did about her and her caregiver. I was a bit surprised by the story. Wilma Lee looked fine, but I wondered about Wilma Lee not being closer to her family.

  4. Hey Michael, I saw the same feature regarding Wilma Lee Cooper and had heard the same comments previously. I am glad that she was able to make it to the opening night of the Opry House.

    Yes, Charlie looked pretty weak and it was good to see Mel being able to come out on the stage. It as mentioned that he was hoping to be able to do the Opry this coming weekend.

  5. In Charlie's case, it's hard to know whether it's the cancer or the surgery--it's quite an operation (my father recently had a quadruple bypass and has recovered very well, but he still tires easily). I had been worried about Mel--the last I heard was that he had had a heart attack, then was in a medically induced coma, then was in rehab.

    These are tough old birds. Wilma Lee had her stroke during a song, as I understand it, and still finished the song. There's a legendary story about Bill Monroe having major surgery and performing the next day, which, in his case, wouldn't surprise me.

    Now, to another subject. Will someone please tell Ricky Skaggs to cut his hair? Not because I object to long hair, but because it just doesn't look good on him.

  6. How can I view that news feature on Wilma Lee? She has always been an Opry favorite of mine.

  7. Anonymous, here's a link:


  8. Does anyone remember the song Jeannie Seely sang in the first hour?