Monday, December 7, 2009


Whether it's a performance at The Grand Ole Opry House or the historic Ryman Auditorium, The Grand Ole Opry holds a special place in my heart. I've enjoyed dozens of memorable experiences at the Opry, but never from the front row, until December 1, 2009.

When I found out Dierks Bentley was playing the Opry at the Ryman, I knew it would be my last chance to see him in 2009, so I started checking for tickets. I could not believe my luck that Section 3, Row AA, Seat 1 came up! At first, I thought, that's probably row 27 after "Z," but after confirming I quickly entered my credit card and sealed the deal!

Now to secure a flight. Not so lucky. I love flying Southwest--direct to Music City, but it was not to be. $489--I don't think so! So I had to settle for a slowdown (stopover) in Charlotte before making my way to my final destination--Nashville, Tennessee--to get an affordable price.

Since it was a long trip alone and just a short piece of time--less than 36 hours start to finish, I declined the car rental and took taxis to and fro. The Best Western Music Row was just the right price and less than 2 miles from downtown. DBC rep Camille came by to say hi and give me a card to give Dierks. I then had some time to kill so I decided to take a taxi downtown and check out the infamous "Rippy's"--they had live entertainment and awesome chicken fingers!

Then off to the alley--the famous alley--between the back door artist entrance to the Ryman and the back doors to honky-tonk row--The Stage, Tootsie's, Legends, Roberts...all the historic greats! It was a little too cold for this Florida girl - in the 40's, but thanks to my friend and DBC rep Heather who lives 5 blocks from there for hanging out with me even though she didn't have a ticket to the show. I also met Tawny Tucker, aka Country Music Tattle Tale blogger and DBC rep from TN! We all waited in the bone-chilling weather in hopes of an impromptu Meet & Greet with Dierks, Jimmy, or Jason--but mostly Dierks! By five minutes til show time--there still was no sign of them.

The show started at 7, so I went in to get warm. When the usher walked me to my seat I could not believe it! I expected to be in the first row pew (The Ryman is an old historic church complete with original pew/benches), but there were about 5 rows of folding chairs in front of the first row pews! I was in the first seat in the first row--one foot from the stage! I had to scoot my chair back a foot just to see everyone on the stage!

I had barely sat down when I felt a tap on my shoulder. It was DBC rep, Larissa from Kentucky! She gave me a belated b-day card to give to Dierks, and I had one of my own. I had no hope of getting backstage and was planning to brave the cold again after the show to wait it out in the alley again.

Weaved between legends like Jimmy C. Newman, Whispering Bill Anderson, The Whites, and Dailey & Vincent were Jason Michael Carroll, Jimmy Wayne, and Dierks Bentley!

Jason sang Hurry Home, Where I'm From and another song from his new album. Wow--what a voice!
Jimmy sang Sara Smile, I Love You This Much, and Trespassin'.

After JW, Little Jimmy Dickens was scheduled, but I had heard a guard say he was still ill and wouldn't be there, so I knew Dierks was next. And there he was...waiting in the wings!

I started snapping a few pics and he looked out and saw me in the front row and waved--I waved back. The lady sitting next to me was like, "Do you KNOW him?" (Yeah), how do you know him? (I'm in the fan club)...have you met him before? (yes many times) he knows you? (yes)...She had no clue who he was but she was impressed.

I got a few pics of Tim and Robbie as they were waiting while Eddie Stubbs was spouting off a killer intro for Dierks.

Dierks came center stage and never left. The Opry is not like a regular live show where Dierks is all over the stage running and jumping and sliding like Bo Duke. No siree. center stage and a few bars with Robbie, a few with Rod then center mic again. Free and Easy...Opry's rockin' on the radio...he intro'd Beautiful World by saying he had been watching tv earlier seeing how more troops were being deployed and he dedicated BW to the troops and their families. Then I Wanna Make You Close Your Eyes, and ended with Lotta Leavin' Left To Do.

They were done singing, but finishing the guitar parts, and the curtain started closing! The look on his face was like, what? So he had no chance to walk along the front row like he sometimes does, for hand slaps or autographs. And the ushers came rushing up to ward off any stage jumpers. And I am sooooooooooo not a bold person, but Dierks inspires me, so I grabbed the 3 cards, took one giant leap forward and ducked my head under the curtain. The floor of the stage was higher than my waist, but I saw Dierks walking and called out to him. He came over and said thanks for coming sweetie and I gave him the cards, told him he sounded awesome and he said he had to go do an interview. Normally we would hug but the stage was too high so he kissed his hand and reached down to transfer it to my cheek. There he goes again...always finding a way to make a girl feel special! And just like that he was gone.

I wandered out back to the alley, hoping to get a real hug but he never came out. The guards said he went out another door. But I did run in to Tim and Rod and Jimmy. I told JW how much I love the new album and especially "Just Look At You" and he said a lot of people love that song, and get this...he started singing a few bars! What?! Right there in the alley of the Ryman Awesome! What a phenomenal voice.

So back to the hotel and off to the airport the next morning, where my cabi is really friendly, talkative, interesting, an aspiring songwriter, AND he knows who Dierks is--automatically he's my friend! I highly recommend him.

  • Roundtrip USAIR - Tampa to Charlotte to Nashville -$359
  • Opry at the Ryman Section 3, AA, seat 1 - $57
  • Taxis to/from airport, hotel, downtown -$80
  • Best chicken fingers ever at Rippy's - $10
  • Best Western Music Row $85
  • Just another sunset, one more kiss from my baby, a smile from a friend...PRICELESS!

DB Congress Chair


  1. Hey Ronna, so glad you had a great time! The pictures are awesome and the blog is a lot of fun to read. So jealouse!


  2. Hey Ronna, Sounds like you had a great time. What a wonderful night. Sounds like everything went well for you. I bet our pres. was glad to see you there. Dawn

  3. Kristin in New MexicoTue Dec 08, 12:56:00 AM

    Wow! Sounds like a great time. That was a great price for a front row ticket. Bummer there was no m&g, but you made it happen girl!

  4. Ronna you never cease to amaze me with your dedication to Dierks! What a great night for you! Yes Dierks always finds a way to make you feel special! Thanks for sharing!

  5. Ronna, good for you for making your way under the curtain!! That is a great story and it sounds likes so much fun! Pics are awesome too!

  6. Love the story and pics, Ronna! What a great seat you had! And ducking under the curtain....good for you, that's great! Thanks for sharing!

  7. Wow! How envious am I after reading this!?!? Thanks for writing and sharing and everything else you do. Being able to come here and read pure GOLD like this, makes it easier to follow Dierks from all the way over here in England. :)

  8. Dierks Turet Syndrome--DTS. Glad to read that you still have it- HAHA!
    Love your blog, absolutely fabulous! I am glad you had such a wonderful trip!

  9. Awesome review Ronna! So glad you had such a great time! MONA..LOL...DTS! I'm literally laughing out loud...Ahhh the memories! Ronna you're the best! :)