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What I’m thankful for this holiday: The Oak Ridge Boys return to live performing

The Oak Ridge Boys “Christmas in Tennessee” Dinner Show Residency at Gaylord Opryland lasts through Christmas Day.

The last time I sat down to write one of these reviews, it was the weekend before everything shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Here at The Music Universe, we have extensively chronicled the loss of live entertainment, the venues that have folded, and the artists who have moved their careers online.

However, for the Oak Ridge Boys, no Facebook Live would do. They returned to the concert circuit in late August, and earlier this fall announced their Christmas residency “Christmas in Tennessee.” This sit-down at Gaylord Opryland replaces their beloved annual Christmas tour.

TMU founder Buddy Iahn and I had the pleasure to attend the opening night of the residency. So what one might expect during a pandemic-era concert?

Opryland opened all sections of their luxurious Presidential Ballroom to house over 100 socially-distanced tables. Masks are required to enter and move about the ballroom, but can be taken off at your own table.

The three course dinner they offer is absolutely delicious. It’s the right amount to satisfy you without stuffing you and making you sluggish for the main event: The Oaks’ famous Christmas Show.

How do I describe a Christmas Show full of surprises and warm-hearted moments without spoiling what may be the only magic families reading this may experience in this tumultuous year? I won’t. I won’t say a dang word about what songs are played, what order they’re in, and how the show gives us a much-needed reprieve from this Black Mirror episode of a year.

What I will say is this: Go. The Oak Ridge Boys Christmas In Tennessee is bound to be the most fun you will have all year. It’s a mix of classic hits, Christmas tunes, and all wrapped up in the showmanship you have come to expect from the Septuagenarians who still call themselves “the Boys.” It is worth the trip (If you feel you can travel safely) to Nashville from anywhere in the country. Honestly, I haven’t experienced a down-home Christmas event like this in years.

And that’s not to mention the millions of lights and thousands of poinsettias throughout the Opryland Resort that set the scene. Even in 2020, Gaylord refuses to skip a beat when it comes to the holidays.

For now, gone are the big Trans-Siberian Orchestra extravaganzas. Gone are the holiday Disney ice shows. But the Oaks are here to stay in a way that reminds us of what is important in the last month of 2020: That nothing heals the heart at the holidays like music.

The Oak Ridge Boys Christmas In Tennessee runs through December 25th and includes a three course meal prepared by Opryland. Tickets: Adults $99.99 Kids $39.99

Author: Matt Bailey

Matt Bailey is podcast producer and writer located in the Northeast. Since 2013, Bailey has produced more than 160 episodes of his own online radio show, Talk For Two. In 2016 alone, he interviewed Kevin Bacon, Crystal Gayle, Bob Barker, and Gilbert Gottfried, among several other stars. As a Correspondent for The Music Universe, his focus is Broadway, country music and concert reviews.