THIS TIME, SUPRISE IS ON URBAN AT ‘ALL FOR THE HALL': GILL INVITES HIM TO BE NEXT MEMBER OF OPRY
by Cindy Watts – The Tennessean
Keith Urban meticulously planned a lineup of some of country music’s most adored duos and groups for Tuesday night’s third annual We’re All for the Hall concert to benefit the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.
“The third time is the charm,” Urban told the sold-out crowd. “I can’t wait for you guys to see who is coming out tonight.”
But the evening’s chief surprise was for Urban: Country Music Hall of Famer Vince Gill took the stage to invite the “You Gonna Fly” singer to be the next member of the Grand Ole Opry. When Urban is inducted on April 21, he’ll become the first member not born in North America.
“I don’t know what to say. Gosh, man, thank you so much to everyone at the Grand Ole Opry tonight. I’m shocked. It’s a huge honor and how beautiful to have this happen tonight of all nights. I so appreciate this,” Urban said, surrounding by other Opry members Gill had called back on the stage. Members of The Oak Ridge Boys, Diamond Rio and Rascal Flatts, the Opry’s newest inductees, had previously performed and returned to be part of the surprise.
The invitation came near the end of an evening stocked with acts also including Lady Antebellum, Little Big Town, Alabama, the Band Perry and Thompson Square, along with unannounced guests Country Music Hall of Famers Merle Haggard and Don Williams.
Urban co-founded All for the Hall with Gill, and again this year, the concert drew a sold-out crowd to Bridgestone Arena, where it has taken place now for three years.
The show kicked off with Urban performing his newest No. 1 song, “You Gonna Fly,” as artists including Gill and The Oak Ridge Boys along with Eddie Stubbs watched from beside the stage. Gill followed and thanked “each and everyone” in the audience for buying tickets. Then he encouraged the audience to go check out the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.
The evening was packed with memorable performances, including Little Big Town performing new single “Pontoon,” Pistol Annies treating the crowd to “Hell on Heels” and Rascal Flatts performing the title track from its new album Changed.
Haggard, in town early for his sold-out show on Wednesday night at the Ryman Auditorium, performed “Just Stay Here and Drink,” “Today I Started Loving You Again” and “Workin’ Man Blues.”