The show started off with a short video sharing a bit of country music history, and then the observation that so many country stars today started listening to the Grand Ole Opry on the radio.
And then, the celebration of the 5,000th consecutive Saturday night live show began.
The music started with Opry members Connie Smith, the Gatlin brothers, Bill Anderson, Darius Rucker and Terri Clark all together on stage. “Blue Moon of Kentucky”, “Coal Miner’s Daughter” and “The Devil Went Down to Georgia”.
“The Devil Went Down to Georgia” was a tribute to Opry member Charlie Daniels, who passed away in July 2020. Chris Janson sang the song, then stepped out to play his fast and energetic harmonica to “Bring It’s Home . “
For two hours, the members of Opry sang some of their greatest hits, or in some cases, the greatest hits of others. Darius Rucker, who said he “channeled Little Jimmy Dickens” with a stylish country-style hat and suit, paid tribute to Patsy Cline when he sang “Walking After Midnight”.
Vince Gill brought a guitar that once belonged to musician Sam McGee, who first performed at the Grand Ole Opry in 1926. Gill also paid tribute to Sonny Osborne, who was part of the bluegrass duo, the Osborne Brothers, specifically known for âRocky Top. âOsborne passed away last week, just days before his 84e birthday. Gill performed “Making Plans”, also an Osborne Brothers song, in honor of Sonny, while noting that it was written by another member of Opry, songwriter Johnny Russell.
Several legendary Opry artists performed their first hits. These included âStillâ by Bill Anderson, âOnce A Dayâ by Connie Smith, âRose Colored Glassesâ by John Conlee and âDon’t Touch Meâ by Jeannie Seely.
Anderson and Seely also performed “When Two Worlds Collide”.
Later, Smith, Conlee and Seely were joined by Dustin Lynch and Chris Young for âWill the Circle Be Unbroken,â a song that became a country anthem, symbolic for connecting the past and the present.
The evening was full of music, memories and special moments. In a nod to the late Charley Pride, Chris Young performed “Kiss an Angel Good Morning”.
The evening ended with Garth Brooks and Trish Yearwood on stage. For almost 20 minutes, they took turns singing verses from some of their famous songs, often asking the crowd to sing along with them. Brooks’ songs included “Baton Rouge”, “Two Pina Coladas” and “The River”. Yearwood did “She’s in Love with the Boy”, “How Can I Live” and “Walkaway Joe”.
During their set, the two, who are celebrating their 16th wedding anniversary in December, playfully teased each other as to which was more successful.
At one point, Brooks pointed out that HIS song “In Another’s Eyes” won a GRAMMY.
Yearwood, who sang with him on that 1997 mega-bit, quickly replied, “You’re welcome.” They both laughed.
As if to prove that the success of this song was truly a combined effort, they delivered a beautiful rendition with stellar vocals from both. The audience loved it.
It was definitely an unforgettable evening. And while it was a celebration of the history of the Opry with its 5000e back-to-back show on Saturday, it’s worth noting that there’s another milestone not too far away. In less than four years, the Grand Ole Opry will celebrate its 100th anniversary. Still going strong.