Chris Stapleton is as fine a country singer as you’ll find in 2017, but he got a lot of help Wednesday night at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville during his rendition of “The Gambler” for the All in for the Gambler: Kenny Roger’s Farewell Concert. Watch the performance in the fan-shot video above.
It was an important song, after all: The concert was even named after it. Written by Don Schlitz, “The Gambler” became one of Rogers‘ biggest hits, and one of his first crossover successes, when it was released in 1978, later winning him a Grammy award. (The first 30 seconds of the video is devoted to going through the laundry list of accomplishments for “The Gambler” and for Stapleton.)
Assisted by a nine-piece house band, Stapleton gives “The Gambler” a husky, full-throated delivery. But, particularly on the chorus, the backup singers make it soar, with an extra assist from the sold-out 20,000-person crowd, who clap and sing along to pretty well every word. Rogers himself stands off to the side of there stage and is there to give Stapleton a hearty handshake after he’s finished.
All in for the Gambler also included performances by Reba McEntire, Wynonna Judd, Little Big Town, and a final duet with Rogers‘ best-known collaborator, Dolly Parton. While the gala marked Rogers‘ final appearance in MusicCity, his farewell tour, The Gambler’s Last Deal, will continue through the end of the year. His next stop is at the Riverside Theater in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on October 27th.