Nerves, excitement and memories on the red carpet at Kenny Rogers’ Farewell Concert Celebration

Blackbird Presents

On the red carpet before All in for the Gambler: Kenny Rogers’ Farewell Concert Celebration Wednesday night in Nashville, it was a combination of nerves, excitement and memories.

“I’m doing ‘Lucille,’” Justin Moore explained. “I found out two days ago… As with a lot of songs that he did, there are a lot of words… And I’m familiar with the song and have sang along to it, but not in front of Kenny Rogers, so I’m hoping not to destroy it tonight,” the Arkansas native laughed.

Lady Antebellum reminisced about how Kenny had taken them overseas on tour for the very first time.

“The first time we ever performed ‘Need You Now’ was acoustic in Switzerland at that show,” Charles Kelley recalled.

“Oh my gosh! That’s wild…” Hillary Scott reacted.

“I was trying to remember what year it was,” Charles continued. “It was ’09. And I’m not gonna lie, the audience was pretty quiet for us, and we said, ‘We’re gonna do a new song for you guys that’s gonna be our first single in the States.’ We’d never performed it before, and we did it just acoustic, the three of us, and it got the biggest reaction of the night.”

Kenny himself thought back to the first time he and Dolly Parton found magic together, at the session for “Islands in the Stream.”

“I’d done that song for four days,” Kenny admitted. “And I’d just finally told [producer] Barry Gibb… ‘You know, I don’t even like this song anymore.’ And he said, ‘We need Dolly Parton’… I didn’t know her that well then. And so, Ken Kragen, my manager, went and found her…”

“From the moment she walked in, that song sounded different… it had a heart of its own,” Kenny concluded.

“And the rest is history,” Dolly added.

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