Kenny Rogers welcomed Dolly Parton onstage to sing their final duet Wednesday night, Oct. 25, at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena. The performance was part of an all-star tribute concert to Kenny, titled “All in for the Gambler: Kenny Rogers’ Farewell Concert Celebration.” Reba McEntire, the Judds, Lady Antebellum, Little Big Town and Lionel Richie were all on hand to sing Kenny’s songs for him as he sat on the stage and enjoyed the show.
At the end of the night, Dolly and Kenny walked onstage, arm-in-arm, to share hilarious stories from their time touring together in the ’80s. Dolly’s classic wit was on fire as she told the crowd, “I hope when I’m older I’ll know when to hold ’em and when to fold ’em. Kenny, we’ve been accused of it all thsese years. You want to finally hold ’em?”
She then leaned over to Kenny as the crowd burst into big laughs.
That chemistry continued as they sang their recent duet, “You Can’t Make Old Friends” and, of course, “Islands in the Stream.”
Before the show, we asked Dolly and Kenny about that undeniable spark that happens when they get together. They addressed those persistent rumors about the status of their relationship over the years, too.
Kenny said with a big laugh, “We love the rumors. My wife is right behind us, and I’m telling you, it is what it looks like. No, it’s not what it looks like.”
Seriously, what is it about Dolly and Kenny together that is so special?
Dolly explained, “Well, we love the music. We love each other. We like to have fun. We’re country people. We grew up very similar. We just clicked. It’s kind of like family. We’re like first cousins.”
Kenny added, “We’re basically very happy people, and I think that comes out in our music and in our personalities.”
Dolly also serenaded Kenny with a surprise performance of her classic song, “I Will Always Love You.” It was a sweet and tender moment between two very dear friends.
Kenny will play a few Christmas shows this winter before settling into a nice retirement at his home in Georgia.