Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Nashville, TN, The Grand Old Opry

For my Yankee brethren, The Grand Old Opry is described by the Wikipedia as follows.

The Grand Ole Opry is a weekly country music stage concert in Nashville, Tennessee that has presented the biggest stars of that genre since 1925. It is also among the longest-running broadcasts in history since its beginnings as a one-hour radio "barn dance" on WSM-AM. Dedicated to honoring country music and its history, the Opry showcases a mix of legends and contemporary chart-toppers performing country, bluegrass, folk, gospel, and comedic performances and skits. Considered an American icon, it attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors from around the world and millions of radio and Internet listeners. The Opry, today part of the American landscape, is "the show that made country music famous" and has been called the "home of American music" and "country’s most famous stage."

In other words, it is a super famous radio show that plays nonstop Country Music twice a week, and everyone in the world outside of Connecticut knows about it. And there is a live audience that you can be a part of.

We joined with the ranks of the cool people this week, and saw The Grand Old Opry broadcast live.

We spent most of the drive to the event explaining to the kids that we would be going to a formal concert which would be broadcast around the world, and that they would have to remain respectful and quiet. Boy were we surprised to learn that we were entering a crowded raucus event more evocative of a sporting event. The stands remain opened, as people walk in and out to get a hot dog and coke at the food booths outside. The oversized speakers drown out most noise from the audience. The music was broken up by off color remarks by a sly southern announcer in a cowboy hat.

We had the cheapest nosebleed section, the very top row. Here is what the view looked like without the monitor.

The whole time we were there, the announcers kept reminding us that this was a "special" night. The Oak Ridge Boys would be inducted into membership that night. I elbowed N to excitedly say, "hey, I've heard of that group before! They must be really famous! Now what was it that they did again...."

My question was answered as a group of four guys with a lot of facial hair and deep voices jumped out to sing the 80s classic "Elvira".

Then they played a recorded message from George Bush Senior lauding the group, and someone said a special thanks to our troops protecting our freedoms abroad. The night was over, and we were herded outside. It was an interesting experience.

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