By: Joseph Kathmann
Featuring Carrie Underwood, Ricky Skaggs, Logan Brill, Exile, Ashley Clark, Charlie Worsham, Connie Smith, Bobby Osborne, Jeannie Selly, and The Whites
Having recently moved to Nashville, I was eagerly anticipating my first show at the Grand Ole Opry. My expectations were high, but I really didn't know what to expect. After all with that many big country names on a bill you'd think the show would have to last about 6 hours, but this show was crammed into exactly (and I mean EXACTLY) 2 hours. So ultimately, the coolest thing about the Grand Ole Opry was also the worst thing about the show: the bill. Each artist only had time for 2-3 songs in their 15 minute set, and that stood true for everyone, from opener Logan Brill to headliner Carrie Underwood. While ultimately I enjoyed my experience at the Opry, I couldn't help but leave wanting more from the artists. After all how could you be satisfied with a 2 song set from old-school country star Ricky Skaggs? I sure wasn't.
It was obvious from before the first curtain that going to the Grand Ole Opry was all about the experience. The show was about being at the Opry itself, not the artists involved. But music fans everywhere have clearly moved on from the Opry's formula. Nearly everyone in the audience was waiting for Carrie Underwood, and they only got somewhat involved with everyone else before her. Now, maybe this is unfair to the Opry and its formula. After all, Underwood's fanbase is mostly teenage girls and recent female singer-songwriters who have moved to Nashville hoping to "make it" and don't understand or appreciate the history of the genre because they're so focused on wanting to be superstars themselves. I know this may sound cynical, but I was pretty insulted when people were talking through and all but ignoring bluegrass legend Bobby Osborne's set. The man is one of the greatest bluegrass artists of all-time, and I was honored just to be around to witness a set of his. So songwriters: if you want to be taken seriously in this town you gotta understand where your craft came from. Pro tip.
I know I had a similar complaint with the crowd in Metric's set in the Imagine Dragons show, but I'm going to keep hitting on this point. The old school artists that have inspired a ton of artists today don't get nearly the amount of respect they deserve from today's music fan. But, how was Carrie Underwood's 3 song set? Well, it was.....fine. Again, 3 songs really isn't enough to get a lot of momentum going for your set. But, I did appreciate Underwood deciding to go the route of the Opry and not the route appealing to her fans by only playing 1 of her somewhat popular songs and 2 old-school country songs her fans had clearly never heard of, and the songs she did go with all showcased her incredible voice. That's the reason I think Carrie is a must-see country act. While most of her songs are pretty surface-level and are more pop-country than anything else, seeing her live really gives you an opportunity to hear her voice, which I believe is one of the best in the business. Hearing her voice in a recording just doesn't do it justice.
So, ultimately, seeing a show at the Opry was fun. While I wish the sets were a bit longer, and I was a little disappointed with the crowd at this specific show, I was still very happy to see so many great artists in such a short amount of time. The Opry has mastered the set transitions and it was really quite amazing to watch from a technical standpoint. I hope to go see the Opry again, but I might decide to wait until there's no superstar on the bill. I think this would lead to a crowd who's there just to experience the show and not any particular artist. Because if you're there for just one artist, you're gonna be disappointed.
Who are we?
Derek Jung and Joseph Kathmann -- Just two ordinary (debatable) guys that love talking about music. You can read more about us here: