The Grand Ole Opry has posted the line-ups for the three mid-week shows. Yes, three shows this week as the Tuesday Night Opry will have two performances, thanks to a stellar line-up. Besides Opry members Darius Rucker, Martina McBride, Dierks Bentley, Diamond Rio and Bill Anderson on the line-up, it is also very nice to see Vince Gill once again at the Opry. Vince, who usually is one of the Opry's more reliable members, has not been on the Opry since February. Now that he appears to be finished with The Eagles reunion for the rest of the year, perhaps we will see more of Vince on upcoming shows.
Tuesday July 18
7:00: Diamond Rio; Tracy Lawrence; Bill Anderson; Darius Rucker
8:00: Martina McBride; Vince Gill; Dierks Bentley
9:30: Diamond Rio; Martina McBride; Tracy Lawrence
10:30: Bill Anderson; Darius Rucker; Vince Gill
As to Wednesday night, just one show and the line-up is not as impressive. The featured attraction will be Opry members the Oak Ridge Boys, joined by Del McCoury and Riders In The Sky. Also scheduled is Levi Hummon, who will be making his Opry debut.
Wednesday July 19
7:00: Jeannie Seely; A Thousand Horses
7:30: Levi Hummon; Del McCoury Band
8:15: Riders In The Sky; Brooke Eden
8:45: Oak Ridge Boys
When the Grand Ole Opry began, it was a single Saturday night show. Then it added the Friday Night Frolics, which was a studio show and considered second class compared to the Saturday night show. By the end of the 1960's, the Opry was running the Friday Night show at the Ryman, and had added a second Saturday night show. Next came the opening of Opryland in the mid-1970's. During the months that Opryland was open, a second Friday night show was added, along with matinee shows pretty much every day of the week. The matinee shows featured a combination of Opry members, such as Roy Acuff, Minnie Pearl, The 4 Guys and Jack Greene among a host of others, with Hank Snow added to the mix later in the 1980's. Rounding out those line-ups were park performers. Then came the closing of Opryland, and with it, the matinee shows ended. To compensate for that, a Tuesday Night Opry was added, along with a Thursday night classics show. With all these changes and added shows, there was one constant, and that was the fact that the Saturday night Grand Ole Opry was the "big" show, the one that was most important to the members. But it would appear that times have changed.
Back in the day, when member appearances were counted, the only shows that mattered were the Friday and Saturday night shows. The members could appear on as many matinee performances that they wanted, but they were not considered "real" Opry shows. Now, in today's world, any Opry appearance counts, no matter what day or night of the week it is, and with that change, it would appear that the weekend Opry shows have suffered. You need to look no further than the line-ups for the shows this past weekend and compare them to the line-up for Tuesday night. Or almost any recent Tuesday night for that matter. As the Opry has added more week night shows, which have included not only Tuesday night, but also Wednesday, Thursday and now an upcoming Sunday night, many of the Opry's biggest names have forsaken the weekend shows in favor of appearing during the week.
I am not going to name any names, but there are a few of the Opry's members who have made the majority of their appearances on the mid-week shows, ignoring for the most part the weekend. Now, I do appreciate that these members are appearing on the Opry, and I know many have concert appearances on the weekends and other obligations, but by ignoring the weekend shows, it seems to me that the Friday and Saturday shows have become watered down and have less significance than they once did.
While I personally believe that the Opry shows have improved since Pete Fisher left and Sally Williams has taken over, I would like to see Saturday's Grand Ole Opry become the "big" show once again, the one that is important to the members, the ones that the fans want to be at. Mid-week shows are nice, and I am glad they are being supported, but let's remember the roots of the Opry and get a few more of the Opry's bigger names to not only appear mid-week, but also on the weekends.