By Robyn Collins
Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton performed together for the last time on Wednesday (Oct. 26), wrapping up the All In For The Gambler: Kenny Rogers’ Farewell Concert Celebration. In September 2015 Rogers announced he would retire from the road after a final world tour.
The star-studded event was an emotional tribute to one of the most successful crossover artists of all time and performed many popular songs with Parton. “I know I’m artificial, but I like to think my heart is real,” Parton told Rogers before she sang him “I Will Always Love You” She added, “I have a spot (in my heart) for you that’s never ever going to be touched by anybody else.”
The duo also performed their epic duet, “Islands In the Stream.” At the end of the set, Parton asked her friend, “How about me and you go out like rock stars?” Then they held their microphones with arms outstretched, dropped them and walked off the stage.
Wynonna Judd, Lionel Richie, Kris Kristofferson, Chris Stapleton, Lady Antebellum and Little Big Town were among the other artists that performed. The Flaming Lips and Elle King also honored Rogers.
“We’re family here in Nashville. We stick together,” said Wynonna Judd, who sang “You Turn the Light On.” Naomi Judd joined her daughter to perform, “Back to the Well.”
Pop icon Lionel Richie flew in from Australia to sing “Lady,” which he wrote, and Rogers recorded. He gave the legendary performer credit for helping him launch his solo career, saying, “At that moment, I had a person to be my mentor because he was also in a group then transitioned to a solo act. He answered every question I had. So, he’s very special.”
The Oak Ridge Boys also thanked Rogers for kick-starting their career, telling the crowd that he took them on their first big tour. “Believe me, we learned a lot from Kenny,” Joe Bonsall said. “Production-wise, song-wise, entertainment-wise, we learned all of that from Kenny.”
In addition, Chris Stapleton covered the singer’s signature hit “The Gambler,” Reba McEntire, sang “Reuben James,” and Justin Moore performed Rogers’ first crossover hit, “Lucille.”
Over a career spanning 60 years, Rogers recorded more than 30 studio albums, chalked up 24 number one hits and earned six CMA Awards and three Grammys. He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2013 and was voted the “Favorite Singer of All Time” in a joint poll by readers of both USA TODAY and People, reports The Tennessean.
Check out some photos from the epic evening below.