The Inn at OpryLand
Excitement filled the air as brother-in-law Willie pulled into the parking lot of The Inn at Opryland on December 31, 2018. Anticipation of the sights and sounds we would experience filled the air, but more importantly, it filled our hearts. Christmas decorations smiled and waved at us, food smells touched our nostrils and hotel attendants greeted us with broad smiles. Not only would we “rang in the new year” in Nashville, we would actively engage in the “countdown” at the Convention Center in one of the hottest shows there: Big Night in Nashville.”
For those who may be in doubt, the heart and soul of country music begins and ends in Nashville. Having been a lover of country music since childhood, hearing stars like Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Loretta Lynn and Kris Kristofferson. . . the writer considers herself a connoisseur of country music—super good country music! She had seen advertisements of Big Night Nashville showcasing a few musicians who would perform, but claiming more would be added later. Her imagination soared with the idea that stars like Darius Rucker, Garth Brooks, Carrie Underwood, Kelly Clarkston or Scotty McCreery would be on the ticket!
After dumping the luggage in waiting hotel rooms, we set-out to discover the world of Opryland on the hotel shuttle bus. Near the Center entrance, a “neat” little restaurant was discovered for a delightful breakfast! Afterwards, the helpful waitress pointed the best way to begin our tour. It led to a view of the magnificently decorated Grand Hotel, shops, eateries and a guided boat ride of the entire Center. Sister Shirley nudged us to take a walk to the Convention Center where Big Night Nashville would be held. As it turned out, that was great advice because it was easier for us newcomers to find it later that night—without Shirley and Willie.
After resting our slightly aching feet in the hotel, we were ready to hit the trail to Big Night Nashville about 7 pm that evening. A cab dropped us off at the Center entrance and we were well on our way. After checking in and handling personal registration, we took the escalator to the floor where our big night would begin. The first “wrinkle” in the night was the too early arrival. Even though we knew we were an hour early, we were not prepared for the sign at the entrance that said, “The show begins at 9:00 pm, see you then!” At that point, we were not prepared to do anymore walking, so a decision was made to wait for the doors to open, but…where would we sit? The long day was beginning to wear on the legs of “yours truly,” and standing for another hour was not a pleasant thought. Quick thinking from my companion, led to his entering a door to a room down the hall, requesting a chair, getting one… and …my weary legs were rested!
Promptly, at 9:00 pm, the doors swung open and we entered Big Night Nashville! Since we had VIP tickets, we were guaranteed seating, dinner, drinks and the ability to party in all three entertainment rooms. A total of nine (9) professional musicians and DJs, dazzled guests with rap, rock-n-roll and country music from 9 to 2 pm. We were surprised at the variety of genres played at the event. Our vision was…only country music would be played. The food was excellent—hats off to the chef! At 11:59:55pm, the countdown began for the incoming year—2019! As the writer mentioned earlier, being a lover of country music, and… a musician herself, the greatest “let-down” was the entertainment, and for that reason, the names of the musicians will not be listed. They were professionals, but not superstars, good, but not great, and for over TWO HUNDRED DOLLARS ($200.00) a ticket, the writer believes at least ONE (1) superstar should have been on the stage. So… here and now, let it be said to the planners of a future Big Night Nashville,” our attendance will be withheld unless you say in advance, a country music superstar will be performing!
Further…we went to Nashville because we wanted to immerse ourselves in country music…not rap and rock-n-roll. We could have visited Detroit to do that! However, having said that, if I were to rate my visit to Opryland Center, it would be a 10…my enjoyment at Big Night Nashville… 7! Planners, please…work on it for Big Night Nashville 2019!