It may have been Kenny Rogers’ farewell concert, but it was definitely Hello, Dolly…Parton, that is! Dolly Parton stole the show in the star-studded goodbye event, and the two closed it down “like rock stars.”
“A few before me.”
The October 25th “All In for The Gambler: A Kenny Rogers Farewell Concert” took place at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena. And what better close than to see the 30-year friendship of Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton back on stage.
Following a lineup of performers that included Chris Stapleton, Don Henley, Wynonna Judd, Lionel Ritchie, and Kris Kristofferson, Rogers took the stage. Parton was by his side.
The two immediately launched into their unique chemistry, teasing one another. Parton, now 71, said, “We’ve been so excited about this because he says, of course, he’s retiring. Kenny, I just wanted to say that I’m really, really proud of you, and I just hope many, many years from now when I’m older. I’ll know when to hold ’em and when to fold ’em.”
Of course, she was alluding the “The Gambler” lyrics, which also turned into Parton referencing the tabloid rumors. Gesturing toward her noticeable bosom, she asked, “You want to hold ’em now?”
She also teased that “there have been a few before me,” a double-entendre referencing his other duet partners.
Later, she said that everything about her is “artificial,” but that her heart “is real.” She said Kenny would always hold a place in her heart. Then she sang the timeless love song to him, “I Will Always Love You.”
Rogers is now 79-years-old and wasn’t able to stand for more than a few minutes. He sat while Parton sang her love song to him. But when she asked if he was ready for “Islands in the Stream” (a massive hit for the duo written by Barry Gibb), he was on his feet.
After the song, Parton looked at Rogers and asked, “Kenny, how about we go out like rock stars?”
He agreed. They each lifted an arm, held out their mic, and at the count of three simultaneously dropped them on the stage.
The concert is supposedly the last the last time the pair will perform “Islands” together.
What a perfect ending to “sail away together.”