It’s been about 20 years since I last saw Kenny Rogers, a lot has changed since then. Kenny was at the middle of an incredible career and I was at the very beginning of figuring out my own.
When I heard that Kenny Rogers would headline this summer’s TD Ottawa Jazz Festival I knew, without a doubt, there was no way I would be able to miss this show. When it comes to my personal journey of musical discovery over the years you could always find a Kenny Rogers song.
When Kenny walked out onto the stage I, and certainly much of the audience, was surprised at how difficult his movement appeared. Kenny wasted no time explaining to the crowd that he had recently had knee replacement surgery and said, jokingly, “I think they replaced the wrong one”.
One thing that really stood out for me during his performance was his incredible sense of humour (2018 Just for Laughs lineup Kenny?). While sitting on his chair at center stage Kenny told the audience that “I’ll be sitting quite a bit but sometimes I’ll stand, and when I do it’ll be important!”.
The night was a musical journey that spanned 60 years, from Kenneth Rogers in 1957 to the Kenny Rogers we all know and love today. Kenny told stories and performed many of his biggest hits and the crowd sang right along with him.
Throughout the night Kenny was joined by the incredible Linda Davis, for those who may not know Linda you may know her daughter Hillary Scott of Lady Antebellum. I did know Linda Davis and have always been a huge fan of hers which made the night even more special for me. Having first been introduced to Linda way back in 1995 when she joined Reba McEntire on the single “Does He Love You” and then again a few years later on the Prince of Egypt Soundtrack.
Linda performed a few of her own songs including “Love Remains” and joined Kenny for a number of his smash duets over the course of the evening including the grand finale “You Can’t Make Old Friends”. (check out our social media for video clips from the evening.)
Prior to leaving the stage for the final time Kenny took the opportunity to thank the audience for putting up with him as he sat on the stage but, as he said, he had a choice; “Do the show sitting down, or don’t do the show at all.” Kenny I think it’s safe to say you could’ve done the show from a hospital bed in the middle of the stage and the crowd still would’ve loved it.
From one fan on behalf of all of your fans, I wish you all the very best in your retirement but something tells me we haven’t seen, or heard, the last of Kenny Rogers P.S. we’re still hoping for one more round with Dolly Parton
TD Ottawa Jazz Festival continues through July 2, stay tuned for more coverage throughout the week. For a full schedule and tickets visit www.ottawajazzfestival.com