Dolly Parton played two sold-out benefit concerts at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium Friday and Saturday night. The shows marked the first time Dolly had headlined a concert in Nashville since her 2002 concert at the Ryman, which was the home of the Grand Ole Opry when Dolly became a member in 1969.
Dolly admits she usually likes to just stay home when she’s in Nashville, but the Ryman is always her first choice when she plays Music City.
She says of the historic venue, “I just wanted this to be the place I played because I felt safe there. It’s so intimate and wonderful.”
Proceeds from Dolly’s concerts, titled Dolly Parton: Pure and Simple, went to benefit the Dustin Wells Foundation’s work with Nashville’s W.O. Smith Music School and the Opry Trust Fund. Tickets for the concerts sold out in a matter of minutes, which was a shock for Dolly.
“I guess I just felt like that many people didn’t really want to see me in Nashville,” Dolly explains. “I felt like they knew me, but the tickets sold out real fast, but I think a lot of that was also for the worthy causes that we’re doing.”
As for the concerts, Dolly performed more than 20 songs each night, including a show-stopping a capella delivery of her song “Little Sparrow.” Hits such as “Coat of Many Colors,” “Jolene,” “Here You Come Again” and “9 to 5” dotted the set list along with more obscure selections like “Tennessee Mountain Home, “PMS Blues” and “Smoky Mountain Memories.” As always, Dolly closed out the show with “I Will Always Love You.”
Some major stars were spotted in the audience for both of Dolly’s shows. Naomi and Ashley Judd and John Rich from Big & Rich were there Friday. Nashville‘s Connie Britton, Reba and Little Big Town‘s Jimi Westbrook and Karen Fairchild were spotted in the crowd Saturday night.
Of note, Dolly remembered the late Lynn Anderson during a press conference prior to the Friday-night show. She remembers seeing Lynn backstage at awards shows and concerts over the years.
Dolly says, “I just loved her to death. I was really sorry to hear that ’cause she was a good gal. So, we’ll miss her. She’s blooming in God’s rose garden now.”
Best known for her hit, “Rose Garden,” Lynn Anderson died Thursday night at age 67. She will be remembered at a funeral this Wednesday in Nashville.
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