Because the origin of the Grand Ole Opry as an establishment in 1925 and the transfer from the Ryman Auditorium to the Opry Home in 1974, numerous unimaginable collaborations have graced the famed circle of wooden that acts because the gathering place for members and friends. On the night of Sunday, February nineteenth, although, the Nashville stage turned residence to some of the wide-reaching and eclectic gathering of names within the constructing’s storied historical past, all in honor of the late Leslie Jordan.
The beloved actor, comic, and singer linked with audiences by means of many various mediums. For some, he was the man who made them giggle over Instagram or TikTok within the darkest hours of the pandemic; to others, he was the character actor who stole the present in Will & Grace, American Horror Story, or Name Me Kat. And to many Nashville residents and guests to the Opry, he was a budding nation music star — Jordan adored the Opry and lots of of its members, and earlier than his demise in October on the age of 67, even launched his personal album, 2021’s Firm’s Comin’, co-produced with Travis Howard and Danny Myrick, native staples of the scene.
The complete visitor checklist for the tribute to a life well-lived included actors who linked with Jordan on numerous units, corresponding to Mayim Bialik, Jim Parsons, and Max Greenfield (of New Lady fame), comic Leanne Morgan (our host and MC for the evening), and lots of, many musicians: Eddie Vedder, Maren Morris, Tanya Tucker, Billy Strings, Ryan Hurd, Brothers Osborne, Brittney Spencer, Lukas Nelson, Jake Wesley Rogers, Ashley McBryde, Jelly Roll, Lainey Wilson, Ruby Amanfu, and extra artists reported for responsibility, backed by a home band that featured three ACM Instrumentalist of the Yr winners.
To say Leslie Jordan would have been thrilled and delighted by the turnout is an understatement — not solely was the invoice one of many extra distinctive lineups in current reminiscence, however the crowd mirrored Jordan’s capacity to transcend. The sold-out crowd of native friends, followers of his tv appearances, fellow members of the LGBTQ+ neighborhood, or of us simply passing by means of who grabbed tickets to the Opry for the evening (a extra widespread prevalence than one may assume) was a mirrored image of the person who was unapologetically himself, whatever the house he inhabited.
The present arrived at an attention-grabbing level in Nashville’s story, too, particularly on the planet of nation music; the stage mirrored the form of range that typically makes it really feel just like the style is shifting in a constructive course, with artists of coloration and vocal members of the LGBTQ+ neighborhood reminding the viewers that nation music, at its greatest, is a spot for everybody, so long as they’ve an excellent story to share. A pair of drag queens in attendance, coiffed and styled to the heavens, snapped pictures with friends throughout the present’s intermission, whereas Tennessee lawmakers are actively working to attempt to move a invoice that might ban drag exhibits in public locations.
Most of the night’s greatest moments got here from the sorts of artists who’re nonetheless not welcomed by the mainstream in Nashville’s main business. Rising star Jake Wesley Rogers earned a standing ovation with a shocking efficiency of his observe “Jacob from the Bible,” whereas Fancy Hagood devoted a chill-inducing tackle Vince Gill’s “Go Rest High on that Mountain” to queer individuals all through the state. Brothers Osborne’s T.J. Osborne memorably got here out in 2021, and the duo was acquired with all the heat and hospitality Nashville does greatest.