Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood Play the Grand Ole Opry on Anniversary of Nashville Flood [Watch]
Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood played the Grand Ole Opry on Saturday night (May 2), performing to an empty Opry House in light of the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The evening looked far different than most Saturday nights at the venue, just as a Saturday night 10 years ago did, too.
On May 1-2, 2010, Middle and West Tennessee were among the areas hit with a torrential rain storm, causing the Cumberland River — which flows through downtown Nashville and just behind the Grand Ole Opry House — to overflow its banks. There was catastrophic damage throughout the Nashville area; at the Opry House, backstage, the stage itself and the seating area were submerged in the floodwaters.
"In every challenge, there is an opportunity. We are together apart, and apart we are together …" Brooks mused on Saturday night. "In country music, we are a family, and we will all get through this and come out stronger in the end."
The Grand Ole Opry House originally opened in 1972. After the flood, the Grand Ole Opry relocated its shows to various venues around Music City until the Opry House was renovated and reopened, as Yearwood recalled during her and Brooks' performance.
“When you walk in this building, there’s such a history here,” she reflected. "Then, when you walk into this circle, there’s something magic that happens."
Brooks and Yearwood performed a number of classic country covers in addition to their own songs during their Grand Ole Opry set, the long-running radio show's 4,922nd consecutive Saturday night show. They opened with George Jones and Tammy Wynette's "Golden Ring," their microphone stands both positioned inside the Opry stage's iconic circle of wood from the Ryman Auditorium stage. After the May 2010 flood, that circle was recovered, refinished and placed back in the Opry stage before the venue re-opened that September.
The pair closed with Brooks' "The Dance," which continued into an a cappella version of "Sweet Dreams," sung by Yearwood. “Thanks to the Opry for letting us be members of the greatest place on the planet,” Brooks said.
Both Brooks and Yearwood are longtime Opry members. He debuted on the Grand Ole Opry in June of 1989, shortly after the release of his eponymous debut album, and joined the Opry on Oct. 6, 1990. Yearwood joined the Opry on March 13, 1999, after debuting on the Opry in 1992.
The Grand Ole Opry's next Saturday night broadcast (May 9) will feature Trace Adkins, Dustin Lynch and Blake Shelton, who will bring girlfriend Gwen Stefani along for her Opry debut. Theirs will be the ninth consecutive Opry broadcast without an audience and with minimal cast and crew present and practicing social distancing and other safety protocols, in accordance with the city's safer-at-home order and health professionals' recommendations.
See the Grand Ole Opry Through the Years: