Monday, March 18, 2013

Nashville: Backstage at the Grand Ole Opry

My week in Nashville was nothing short of amazing. But the most surreal part was hanging out backstage at the Grand Ole Opry. It was a lot like living out a hazy dream from a very long time where backstage would have been a normalcy instead of an occasion, but filled with butterflies in my stomach instead of pure enjoyment.

Being the superstar personal trainer that she is, my sister has an Opry connection and was able to get passes go behind the scenes of the show. Never having been backstage to anything (except of course, my chorus concerts and theater productions back in the day, but that was amateur stuff), I wasn't really sure what to expect - how we would be treated (like royalty), if it would be laid back or restricted access (totally laid back), if the musicians would be friendly or make us feel like we were in the way (friendlier than people you'd meet on the street). I'm also the obnoxious fan who suffers from star-struck-itis, which is an unfortunate disease that makes your eyes bug out of your head and glues your mouth shut whenever a celebrity worthy of worship comes within ten-foot-pole-touching distance. Fortunately, I didn't really know any of the stars performing that night (that's not to say they aren't worth knowing, I just don't follow country music extremely closely), so we were relatively safe from an embarrassing episode. That, and my sister is more confident in these types of situations, so I could fall back on her whenever words trailed out of my mind.

But what is true about the Opry is also true about Nashville on the whole. It's an everybody knows everybody kind of town, where famous people treat you like their neighbor. It kind of makes you feel like you're special too. The musicians performing the night we were there were so friendly and accommodating, stopping for pictures with fans and signing autographs, but always asking how you've enjoyed Nashville and suggesting a place to eat, just like a good friend who wants to make sure you have the best time in their city.

In fact, Ricky Scaggs, who frequently performs at the Opry, even took the time to talk camera tech with me and, right as he was about to go on stage to play, pointed out another wedding photographer who happened to be back stage as well. I was so floored by his thoughtfulness and that small act of kindness, but that's the kind of place it was. A place that nurtures art and collaboration. My kind of town.

I should also mention that the dressing rooms were exquisitely a fun, funky country vibe.

These girls were rocking awesome. I just wish I could remember their band name - it wasn't printed in the program that night because some other artist was listed instead but didn't perform. These beautiful chicas were from Australia and so super sweet.

And tomorrow...the rest of our adventures in Music City...

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