on October 1, 2009
We arrived in Nashville in mid afternoon and quickly changed into jeans for our night at the Opry. We found that our choice of attire was the dominant choice of most of the patrons, although there were a few that were in shorts and T's and a few that were done up in sequined tops and bedazzled jeans. (They must have taken lessons from Manuel and Nudie because some of the designs were very detailed.)The Opry starts at 7PM and the doors open around 6:15. This gives you time to purchase some food and beverages before going to your seat. Most of the patrons arrive around 6:45 and the aisles get crowded so try to get there early, if possible. Alcoholic beverages are available for purchase, if you choose. Food is the typical hot dogs, burgers and fries.We had seats in the back of the main floor area and I would suggest that you try to get seats in the front area (sections 1-7) and in the closest rows possible (they start at A and progress through the alphabet). We were barely able to see the performers, let alone tell who they were. If it wasn't for the big screen at the back of the stage, we wouldn't have had a clue who was performing on stage. We were lucky to "see" Pam Tillis, Billy Dean and Craig Morgan. Pam Tillis stopped the show with a rendition of the Beatle's "I Want To Hold Your Hand" that brought country into new areas. The harmony was terrific and the bluegrass twang made me want to run right out and get the CD.We took the Backstage Tour (tickets available at the ticket office or in the Gift Shop) after the show. Everyone met in the lobby and were escorted back into the theater where we were shown a short video history of the Opry. We then were taken to the artist arrival area and shown the mailboxes that receive the fan mail (if you don't know the address and box number - just put the artist's name and "Grand Ole Opry at Opryland, Nashville, TN" and it will get to them). And you thought only Santa had that kind of service!!!The dressing rooms and green room were next on the tour. At the end we were able to stand on the stage and see what the actual performers see. There is a circle of wood from the old Ryman stage in the center of the new stage, It was taken from the wing area where the artists enter so the Opry could be sure that every member had walked on it. (It seems that some members avoid the center of the stage so that area was not considered).The tour takes about an hour and our guides, Michelle and Ms. Eloise, were willing to take questions that were not covered by the tour patter. It was very informative and fun to boot.
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