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Concert Grand Ole Opry, Tuesday Oct 29th 2013
  by: JoeS - Springfield, PA
started: 11/03/13 1:33 pm | updated: 11/03/13 1:33 pm
I had the opportunity to attend a show at the Grand Ole Opry on Tuesday Oct 29th. A must do thing if you are ever in Memphis. Whether you are a country music fan or not you will get a kick out of the show, the atmosphere and the entertainment. The present site is not the original Grand Ole Opry which is located at the Ryman Theater in downtown Memphis. The Ryman is in itself worth a tour, country fans call it the mother church of country music, a true architectural and cultural treasure.

The new Opry is a large and modern with pews instead of individual seats. This is to keep the feeling of the smaller and personal milieu the original Opry just oozes from all of its pores. The show is also a live radio broadcast on WSM . Consequently, the show runs on time to the minute. Between acts there are commercials, some for tractors, lumber etc. The live nature of the performance reminds me of Prairie Home Companion with a down home twist. The announcer welcomes all the performers and it is obvious he knows them. The folks that appear week after week are both local as well as members of the Opry. Being a member of the Opry is a real privilege given to just over 100 performers both alive and deceased. This particular night was interesting for about half of the audience were high school students from around the country and the world who are members of Future Farmers of America.

I am a fan of gospel, strong country, primitive country and bluegrass music. My favorites are Steve Earl, Patty Griffin, Buck Owens, Allison Krauss as well as Bill Monroe and the Del McCory Band. On this particular night it just so happened that the Del McCory Band, Ricky Skaggs and Barry Gibb were a part of the bill, yes Barry Gibb of the Bee Gees. He lives in Nashville and this was his second appearance. The other acts were Dustin Lynch, TG Sheppard and Montgomery Gentry. All of the performers did 3 or 4 songs and quickly depart and the new act gets going. Usually there is a commercial, again live radio, in between each act and away you go again.

The show lasted exactly 2 hours and 15 minutes with a brief intermission about half of the way through the show. Most of the performers went into the audience to interact with the fans. There was no visible show of security! The Del McCory Band did a rendition of “Foggy Mountain Breakdown” that had the audience up, clapping and just enjoying the very best of bluegrass music. Ricky Skaggs was wonderful, he has a real stage presence and hit the mark with “I Don't Care” and “Highway 40 Blues.”

Then came Barry Gibb. The Ricky Skaggs Band accompanied him, and it was magic. I did not expect the audience, especially the high school students, to react they way they did to Barry. The moment he walked out they stood up and gave him a huge welcome. He started with ”Jive Talkin'”, not a surprise. It got the audience going and it continued through his entire performance. He,unlike the others, performed six songs instead of three. He and Kelly Lang sang “Islands In The Stream” and brought the house down. They had performed it earlier in the month for Kenny Rogers induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

It was evident that Barry and Ricky are personal friends. Their joking about the long gray hair they share was funny and from the heart. Ricky and he did a magnificent job on “Words,” and “To Love Somebody.” After each song the audience stood and clapped until the announcer, again live radio, had to move us on. They ended the show with “Stayn' Alive.” Barry still has command of that famous falsetto voice. I have seen the Bee Gees a couple of times and was concerned Barry might not be up to the top of his game. He was and I enjoyed every act and especially Barry. It was heart warming to see how the audience reacted to Barry, especially so by the young Future Farmers. Another fine night of live music, in a wonderful venue, with very nice people, a great time was had by all!

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