Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Grand Ole Opry

Grand Ole Opry?

Mission accomplished.

I've lived an hour and 45 minutes from Nashville for about 6 years and have never been to the Grand Ole Opry. A shame, really.

But no more shame, as of last night!!!

The idea of going has been swirling in my head (as many things are!) for awhile now and when I found out that the Eli Young Band was going to be performing there this Tuesday night, I texted Katie and said, "Make no plans for Tuesday night. We're going to the Opry!"

So we did.

I'm not a big fan of tourist-trappy places because I don't like to contribute to the hype of a PLACE just because someone says I'm supposed to like it.


The Grand Ole Opry is where it's happening. Everyone should go at least once in their lives, especially people who live as close as I do.

Actually, people who lives as close as I do, should go like, um, once a month. At least. When we left last night,Katie commented that we should go back every week.

It's that good.

So your question may be - what makes it so good??

And my answer(s) are:

1) It's deeply historical, for both Nashville and the whole of country music. Even if you don't like country music, you can't deny the influence these legendary artists have had on music in general.

2) The Opry House is beautiful and very old. The Grand Ole Opry used to be performed at the Ryman Auditorium but was moved to its current location in the '60s, I think. Our seats were in the balcony (because those were the only three seats left together) and the stairs up to the seats were barely wide enough for two people to walk side by side. The seats in the balcony were pews and our view to the stage was nearly vertical. The auditorium is tall and deep so it felt like we were sitting on the top of a cylinder looking down into the stage.

3) The Grand Ole Opry provides an entertainment line-up like no other. We saw Jimmy Newman, Sarah Buxton, a Bluegrass band, the Eli Young Band, Bill Anderson, the Charlie Daniels Band, Lil Jimmy Dickens and Trace Adkins. We went from the legendary prowess of Jimmy Newman, Bill Anderson , Charlie Daniels and Jimmy Dickens to the newbies in Sarah Buxton and the Eli Young Band to the superstar-ness of Trace Adkins.

To be honest, I had no idea who Bill Anderson was until last night. He's a country singer and entertainer, in his 60s, probably. But he's my grandpa - he just doesn't know it. He was the type of entertainer that made you feel like YOU were the only reason why he was there. I love him.

Jimmy Dickens is 88. And when his guitar is standing on end in front of him, it's nearly as tall as he is. His quote of the night was: "My wife said to me the other day, 'let's run upstairs and make love.' I told her, 'I can't do both.'" And when the full Opry House erupted into laughter, he said, "Been there, done that."

4) The stars aren't being paid to impress - performing at the Grand Ole Opry is an honor to them. So it takes away the superficial mask of entertaining. Sarah Buxton made a mistake while performing her hit song "Innocence." Trace Adkins looked like he'd just finished dinner, put on his hat and walked out to the door to sing to us. Jimmy thanked the audience for his house. Bill gave the audience a hug. Trace made fun of a Dollar General commercial about toilet paper's performance. Charlie Daniels threw his fiddle bow into the front row and hit a litle girl in the face. Anyone was welcome to walk right up to the stage and take pictures. Since the Grand Ole Opry is a live radio show, there's a host and tons of people walking around on stage, and even commercials.

5) The format of the show is exciting. Each performer sang like three songs and talked about life, made jokes, talked about the Opry and favorite memories of being there. There was no mention from the stars of new CDs or tour dates or paraphenalia that we should buy.

6) The radio host, Andy, I think, was a guy who looked older then he was and he announced people's birthdays from the audience and soldiers who had just returned from Afghanistan. He introduced the entertainers without a script and each one either shook his hand or hugged him when they were leaving the stage.

7) For what you get, you can't beat the price. Our balcony seats were $38, which yeah, sounds expensive. But we were entertained for 2.5 hours. And entertained well, by famous people (really famous people.) We decided, though, that the next time we go, we'll pay the $53 to have seats on the main floor. Trust me, the additional $15 would be worth it.

We were pumped up when we left.

And it was only 9:30 p.m. - in Nashville...with no children! That's kind of a big deal for us.

I'd never been to the Wildhorse Saloon so we decided to venture downtown and indulge in more live music and maybe some dancing.

It was karaoke night at the Wildhorse, a nice family environment restaurant/bar, with a huge stage and dance floor. Mindy and Katie got there with some other crazy line dancers and before long, it was closing time.

As we were leaving, we asked one of the waiters if he knew of any other good places to dance that Mindy could get into to - she'll be 21 in September. The waiter/bartender had been talking to a couple younger guys so they were all like thinking of places and explaining that on a Tuesday night, we'd be hard pressed to find anything.

Mindy said it had to be a place that would let her in. And one of the younger guys said, "Well, you could always try the carousel at the mall." We basically told them him that the conversation was over and that that was a really rude comment.

We walked up and then back down Broadway, which is just fun to do at night because of the music and the people.

Then we came home. And it rained HARD nearly the whole way.

It felt good to collapse into bed at 1:15 a.m. being dog-tired but having had so much fun.

Go to the Grand Ole Opry.

1 comment:

Mindy said...

You are amazing! I love this! Hilarious when you told about Jimmy Dickens!