For the Grand Ole Opry's first Saturday night show with a live audience since March, Vince Gill devoted some of his limited stage time to the late Mac Davis, a legendary songwriter and recording artist who'd passed away on Sept. 29.
Gill performed "In the Ghetto," Davis' well-intentioned lament for the cycle of violence that engulfs poor families. Davis' sweet sentiment, as made famous by Elvis Presley, sounds even sweeter when it's just Gill's voice plus acoustic guitar accompaniment.
Gill's Davis tribute was one of four classic songs performed that night. Per the Tennessean, Morgan sang Skeeter Davis' "End of the World," Clark covered Barbara Mandrell's "I Was Country when Country Wasn't Cool" and Bentley revisited years spent paying dues in Lower Broadway bars with Faron Young's "Going Steady."
No more than 500 fans attended the show, breaking a string of Saturdays on which the likes of Keith Urban, Carly Pearce, Garth Brooks, Trisha Yearwood, Reba McEntire, Blake Shelton, Gwen Stefani and other stars preformed to no audience thanks to COVID-19 (coronavirus) precautions.
"I said it's gonna be like having a conversation again," Gill said about the Opry's return to semi-normalcy. "That's what happens when you stand up here and sing a song, and somebody listens and responds. It's like having a great conversation. It's just beautiful to hear that kind of conversation coming back. Thank you for that."
Due to the lack of touring and live music options, most tributes to Davis by Nashville stars have come on social media. For example, a tweet from Dolly Parton referred to Davis as "one of my dearest friends" and "one of the world's greatest writers, singers and entertainers."