Museum Director Kyle Young greeted the packed house on Wed (5/9) highlighting Rogers’ many accomplishments, which include selling more than 120 million records worldwide, recording more than 65 albums during his career and having 21 No. 1 hits.”Tonight is all about his music… and he’s about to sing just for you,” Young told the energized audience.
Rogers opened the show with hits “Something’s Burning” and “Reuben James” from his group, The First Edition. The group formed in 1967 and was later renamed Kenny Rogers and The First Edition.
After revealing his upcoming biography, Luck or Something Like It, Rogers directed the audience to watch the background video for what he jokingly called a “1967 Acid Flashback” and performed “Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In).”
Rogers recited some of the song’s lyrics the crowd:
I pushed my soul in a deep dark hole and then I followed it in
I watched myself crawlin’ out as I was a-crawlin’ in
I got up so tight I couldn’t unwind
I saw so much I broke my mind
I just dropped in to see what condition my condition was in
He concluded with the audience, “They just don’t write songs like that anymore.”
Rogers continued tracing the path of his career performing “Walking My Baby Back Home” and “When I Fall In Love.” He shared how he got an early break from a talent show judged by Eddy Arnold and noted, “I’ve been very blessed.”
Following “Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love to Town,” Rogers performed a medley of his chart-toppers, “Through the Years,” “You Decorated My Life,” and “She Believes In Me.” Rogers confessed he chooses love songs that “say what every man would like to say, and what every woman would like to hear.” The audience agreed.
The audience then got a double dose of surprises as Rogers then summoned Billy Dean from back stage to sing “Buy Me a Rose.”
In keeping with such a personal, intimate performance, Rogers introduced his wife, Wanda, who was sitting in the audience. He then performed the Mike Reid-penned song “To Me” while a video montage of his identical twins, Justin and Jordan, played in the background.
Following his performance of “Lucille,” Rogers shared how his 1980 hit “Lady” was originally written by Lionel Richie for the Commodores but rejected.
Rogers continued with his iconic hit “The Gambler” and expressed appreciation for the movie’s many sequels. Rogers also expressed his appreciation for his duet partner Dolly Parton before performing “Islands in the Stream.”
Closing the show with “Sweet Music Man,” Rogers left the audience feeling as if they had been in his living room listening to songs, stories and past-times. The retrospective was a fun and entertaining look back at Rogers’ remarkable six decades of success.
And fortunately, the surprise announcement of Rogers’ upcoming Warner Bros. Records album produced by Dann Huff means there will be even more to add to this Sweet Music Man’s future retrospectives.
All Photos: Donn Jones Photography