OpryFest - Opry Plaza - Nashville, TN on October 5, 2002

A beautiful, fall day in Nashville as people filtered through the gates for OpryFest. The Opry Plaza (across the street from Opry Mills) had set up two stages featuring music from "the edge of country to the best of bluegrass." Marty was scheduled to perform on the west stage at 4:00 p.m., third on the bill. We sat through Blue Merle (an incredible group from Vermont) and Paul Burch and the WPA Ball Club. Both performed admirably for an hour.

We could see the Fabulous Superlatives and then, later, Marty standing on the side by the stage, waiting for them to finish up onstage so they could perform. Most of the stage was in the sun by the time the guys were set to come on. While the crowd had been small for the first two performers, I was happy to see that the place was pretty well packed for Marty.

Marty and the band hit the stage before they were introduced. They opened with "Get Back To the Country." Little did I know at the time that this would be a show of older songs. "Hey," Marty said. "Welcome to Palm Beach." Then they went right into "Hey Baby."

"Somebody say 'Howdy'," Marty yells. "Do we have any hillbilly music fans out there in the yard today?" The crowd screams. "Playing country music by the Mall," Marty laughs. Drummer Harry Stinson adds, "In the Fall." Marty has to pick up on it, "In the Fall, having a ball...." Marty asks for a "Well......" The audience responds and they perform "The Whiskey Ain't Workin'." Marty had the crowd sing the chorus by themselves and, naturally, "ya'll suck."

"Is everything all right so far this afternoon?" Marty asks. "Is it all right? Good! If you like me and my band, The Fabulous Superlatives, go right over there [points to the Mall] and buy our records and our books. If you don't like us, tell them you saw Travis Tritt." The audience cracks up. They performed "Honky Tonk Crowd."

Then Marty mentioned recording this next song. "Porter's going into the Country Music Hall of Fame this year. I mean, Porter Wagoner. If it hadn't been for Porter Wagoner, we wouldn't have the 'Green, Green Grass of Home' or Dolly Parton. There's a couple of big ones right there. That's a reason to get in, don't ya think? Or Sherry's hair." [Thanks, Marty.] Then he performed "A Satisfied Mind."

Marty talked about being in New York City doing media interviews for the Kindred Spirits: A Tribute to the Songs of Johnny Cash album he produced. He also mentioned the other Cash tribute, Dressed in Black which BR549's Chuck Mead and Kenny Vaughan were part of. "Johnny Cash songs out there worth hearing again. Here's one I learned off him." Marty and the band performed a poignant version of Cash's "The Wall" and then went into "Long Black Veil."

"What do you think of my band THE FABULOUS SUPERLATIVES? On the bass guitar from the state of Michigan, how about a hand for the great Brian Glenn right here Ladies and Gentlemen. And the greatest drummer of them all....I love this guy. I was starting to make records and he was working with Steve Earle and the Dukes on a record, Guitartown, that made a lot of changes around here for the right reasons....the one and only Handsome Harry Stinson. The badest guitar player in this town......Kenny Vaughan."

Marty then allowed each of them to shine with solos. Kenny Vaughan sang "Walk Like That," while Marty was delegated to background vocals. Brian Glenn performed Foster and Lloyd's"Crazy Over You" and Handsome Harry sang Marty Robbins' "Don't Worry." When Marty hit the note for "Hillbilly Rock," you knew the concert was about to end. We didn't know if he might come back for an encore, after all, only 45 minutes had passed.

"On behalf of the Fabulous Superlatives, this is Marty Stuart saying we'll see you tonight at 7:00 on the Grand Ole Opry. Goodnight." And they were gone!!!

Review by Sherry Mattioli;
Photos by Mario Mattioli

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