Last weekend, I had the honor of watching my very first Kenny Rogers concert when he came to Boise, Idaho.
And it's a concert I don't think I will ever forget.
I remember being a kid in the 80s and my mom love, love, loving her some Kenny Rogers, so I was pretty happy when I was able to score two tickets and bring her along for the fun ride. I have four singers/groups who stand out strongly from my really young days: Bob Seger, which I remember because my mom went to his concert while I was in the hospital having my tonsils removed; Rod Stewart because I was in love with his highly-inappropriate-for-a-youngster Do Ya Think I'm Sexy; and The Gatlin Brothers because All The Gold In California was my favorite song and I sang it constantly. But then there was Kenny Rogers who I had a special place in my heart for because he was my mom's favorite singer, which definitely rubbed off on me, and I grew up thinking that he and I were related. See, my maiden name was Rogers and so in my young mind Kenny Rogers was some sort of a long lost uncle of mine.
Truth be told, I still feel that way despite the fact that I realized long ago that I'm related to him about as much as I'm related to any other famous singer, which is to say I'm not related in the least.
So anyway, getting the chance to see Kenny Rogers in concert was definitely on my bucket list. We sat down in our seats and waited. The stage was small and featured three screens – one large on the back of the stage and two smaller on either side that played photos and videos throughout the concert. There was also smoke streaming out like many concerts have. The weird thing about the smoke at Kenny's concert was it smelled good. Of course, I could have just been smelling the lady in front of me's perfume, but I'm pretty sure it was the smoke.
Then Kenny Rogers walked out. The man I had grown up thinking was larger than life was now small and frail looking. He sort of hobbled out, his fingers slightly twisted from arthritis. It truthfully made me sad … but only for a moment.
Kenny stood in front of the room full of polite fans with the occasional hoop and holler coming from the crowd and once he opened his mouth, everything changed.
Gone was the arthritis, gone was the limp (which he explained came from a recent knee replacement), and gone was the frail old man who first walked out. In front of me was the larger than life Kenny Rogers I remember from my childhood, and all it took was that voice.
Rogers joked with the crowd, he threw $10 bills from his pocket (which I was lucky enough to get one of and have now framed), he interacted with the adoring fans (and not so adoring forced-to-be-there husbands), and he sang. Boy did he sing.
His tour is called the Through The Years World Tour, and that's just what Kenny did, he took us fans through the years.
His set list included all the favorites from The Gambler, Lucille, Lady, Islands in the Stream, (minus Dolly Parton), You Can’t Make Old Friends (also minus Dolly Parton), Ruby Don’t Take Your Love to Town and others.
There were videos playing and a few laser looking lights shining on stage, but they just added to the show and weren't needed for the crowd's enjoyment. Sitting there watching Kenny sing his way through 50 years of hits, it made me realize that I was watching one of the greats, an actual living legend. Unfortunately there aren't a whole lot of them left and I felt truly honored to have been there in the audience that day.
So while most fans might consider the Kenny Chesneys and Luke Bryans and Taylor Swifts of the world the most exciting country shows to see, I'll take Kenny Rogers over them any day.
If you have the chance to see Kenny Rogers in concert, I highly recommend you do so. Find out if he's coming to your area here.