Nashville’s “Playin’ Possum! The Final No Show Tribute To George Jones” was a sendoff for the ages – capped by this emotional sendoff from Alan Jackson and Nancy Jones.
2013 would leave country music ever-changed. When George Jones left us in April of that year, he left a Possum-shaped hole in the hearts of millions. None would grieve him more, however, than his wife of 30 years, Nancy, and one of his closest friends: Alan Jackson.
In honor of his late friend, Jackson helped organize “Playin’ Possum! The Final No Show Tribute To George Jones” here in Nashville, Tennessee. Held at downtown’s Bridgestone Arena, the tribute was one of unrivaled proportions in country music.
Everyone from the King of Country himself: George Strait, to fellow legends like Garth Brooks, Emmylou Harris, Trisha Yearwood, and Charlie Daniels performed. In between were fellow megastars Miranda Lambert, Brad Paisley, Eric Church, Jamey Johnson, and Blake Shelton.
This incredible lineup sang all of George Jones’ beloved hits: “Golden Ring,” “Choices,” “Blues Man,” and “The Grand Tour” among them. The highlight of the night, however, came with Alan Jackson capping off the tribute with “He Stopped Loving Her Today.”
The song, perhaps Jones’ most well known, was a staple of his first marriage. Country icons George Jones & Tammy Wynette would even perform the timeless duet together after their divorce.
As such, Alan Jackson would settle for no less than doing the song absolute justice. A legend in his own right, Jackson would look to George Jones as his genre hero in his early life. Later on, the two would become friends and equals.
Relive George Jones Tribute in Nashville, Tennessee
Below, an audience recording captures the emotional, electric tribute by Jackson. As he moves through the song, his eyes are often closing as he’s overcome. Right before the final chorus, he stops.
“I know before we leave here tonight that George would like nothin’ better than all these fans here and all the artists here tonight to sing along and help us with the chorus,” Jackson tells the audience. “This is the greatest country song and the greatest country singer that ever was,” he lauds of the classic.
As he does so, he invites George Jones’ widow and wife of 30 years, Nancy, onto the stage with him.
“Let’s sing one in honor of George,” Jackson continues, Nancy under his arm. Relive the remarkable November 22, 2013 tribute below:
Ever the loyal friend and fan, Alan Jackson would also perform the song on the day that George Jones died.