I’m just under the wire for another Friday Photo Flashback. For this edition, we go back to Y2K!
The above photo was taken outside the Country Music Hall of Fame on either December 31, 1999 OR January 1, 2000. I was working at B95 in Flint, MI at the time. We had a huge promotion where we took a couple buses of listeners to Nashville to ring in the year 2000 with Tim McGraw and Faith Hill. I believe Kenny Chesney and some other singer all were with them that night.
Kristine Turner, our morning show co-host, and I were the station chaperones. I don’t recall if the listeners bought tickets to go or if they won them, but the trip was quite a whirlwind and awesome time. I remember we left Flint at the crack of dawn and drove all the way to Nashville nonstop. I believe when we arrived at the hotel, we had time to check in, change and we left for the show.
The atmosphere in the arena was electric! For weeks, all the news could talk about was Y2K and all the potential issues and uncertainty that may or may not happen at midnight on New Year’s Eve. Y2K was the furthest thing from everyone’s mind at the show! It was a big party.
The year 2000 rang in to loud cheers, Auld Lang Syne, and couples kissing. Afterwards, the concert continued. We knew the buses were heading back to the hotel until much later, so we ventured out into downtown Nashville. All along Broadway, EVERY bar was hopping with activity. We stopped at almost all of them. Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge, where singers like Terri Clark were discovered, was packed and we enjoyed some great music.
As we walked the streets of Nashville, people were coming up to us. I had worn my Detroit Tigers jersey to the show and people from Michigan kept stopping us asking us where we were from and then telling us what Michigan town they were from. There were many hugs and handshakes throughout that walk. I don’t think things closed down until like 4am that night. It was unreal how busy the town was that night.
The following morning, New Year’s Day, we had a few hours to walk around and take in some sights before the buses left to go home. We opted to go to the Opryland Hotel and walk through there. I won’t lie, I had no idea how big it was and just how much was in there. I remember thinking, “Wait. You are leaving our hotel … to go see another one?”
I was floored when I walked in. I remember seeing the boat that floated through the hotel. I couldn’t believe it. The hotel was obviously more than a hotel. I enjoyed walking through it and checking out the attractions. I may have gotten a caricature done while I was there. Years later, after we were married, Sam and I took a trip down to see her aunt in Kentucky. On the way home, we made a stop in Nashville and took that boat ride together.
On that trip, time was very limited, but it still was a lot of fun. We did have one “incident” on that trip. We stopped at one point, I can’t remember if it was to eat or maybe at a rest stop to just get out and walk for five minutes. One of the bus drivers actually locked the keys in the bus! This is the same bus driver who had taken us on a “tour” of Nashville at some point during the trip and got lost! I had to laugh, because I could see us stuck there for a while. Luckily, someone was able to reach in and get ahold of the arm that opened the door. It was no easy task, but we finally were able to get back on the bus and head home. That was a story I enjoyed telling on the air!!!
I have yet to actually walk through the Country Music Hall of Fame, so I think another trip to Nashville is in order.