Shelton and Paisley will be joined by Darius Rucker and the Band Perry on the project, out later this year
Coming soon to a theater near you: The Grand Ole Opry, The Movie.
After 90 years as a radio show, the Opry welcomed Blake Shelton, Brad Paisley, the Band Perry, Darius Rucker and Brett Eldredge to its Nashville stage on Monday night to shoot an upcoming concert film.
It was Shelton’s first Nashville performance since his divorce from Miranda Lambert was announced on July 20. He lit up the sold-out crowd with a polished five-song set of old and new, including “Hillbilly Bone,” “Sangria,” “Gonna,” and “Boys ‘Round Here,” and he reached back to 2002 for the early hit “Ol’ Red.”
Known for his gift of gab, Shelton chatted it up with the audience only once between songs, with a lighthearted complaint about the Opry’s no-alcohol policy backstage. “That’s why I’ve been standing out in the parking lot for the past two hours,” he joked, before launching into “Sangria,” a “song we can all drink to.”
While his band was still playing Shelton off the stage, someone greeted him with a flask in the wings, and the singer could be seen taking a restorative swig – prompting a joke from show closer Brad Paisley. “I want to apologize for that last act,” he quipped, making a “down the hatch” gesture.
Paisley also turned serious, making sure to pay homage to the Opry’s stature in country music. “The thing about being a country singer is that there are sort of two places you play,” he said. “There’s the Grand Ole Opry … and everywhere else.”
And he offered a touching tribute to the late Little Jimmy Dickens, prefacing his “Southern Comfort Zone” with a brief acoustic refrain of Dickens’ hit “Country Boy.” The Opry legend was “my best friend in this place,” said Paisley, who officiated and sang at Dickens’ funeral, held in the Grand Ole Opry House on Jan. 8.
Paisley capped his five-song set with “American Saturday Night,” which will also be the title for the Opry movie – even though it was filmed on a Monday.
“American Saturday Night: Live From the Grand Ole Opry” is set for theatrical release as early as December.
Don’t miss a beat of country music news, photos and videos! Click here to get all this and more in the PEOPLE Country Newsletter.