Well, Well, Well - My Evening Seeing Leslie Jordan
For the past few days I've been thinking about the life and career of Leslie Jordan. It's a rare talent to be able to make the world collectively laugh the way that he did. Just those first few notes of "Well, well, well" on "Will and Grace" were enough to send anyone out in delight. The kind of person you could tell had been livening up every room he had been in since childhood. And those hilarious Instagram posts during the early days of the pandemic? Iconic. It's almost unheard of to see someone rise to the top of their game in their 60's but he did and made it look easy.
So I was naturally devastated when I heard that he tragically passed away. What a light to have left our world. But it did get me thinking about the night I saw Leslie in person. It wasn't for a booktour or promo for "American Horror Story", it was in a place many probably wouldn't expect to find him - The Grand Ole Opry. He had put out a country gospel record called "Company's Coming" in early 2021 that my mother had turned me onto. And boy did Leslie have some friends, cuz this album was really pulling out the big guns! Tanya Tucker, Chris Stapleton, Brandi Carlisle, Eddie Vedder and Dolly (do I even need to say the last name?) all make appearances. Most importantly, it was good music; really good! So when I found out Leslie was going to be headlining at the Opry, I knew I had to go.
My seat was way up in the tippy-top of the Opry House but none of that ultimately mattered. Leslie was only 4'11" but he may as well have been as big as Goliath - that was the size of his magnetism. The audience ate up every word, every guest star he brought out <cough, Vince Gill!>, and every twirl of his long, white fringe. Of course the ultimate highlight of the evening was seeing all these country stars and legends singing out "Will the Circle Be Unbroken," an Opry classic. Every hand was clapping and every voice was singing - a truly communal and rare experience! The love that audience felt for Leslie was palpable. For a native Tennessean raised on the Grand Ole Opry this must have been an actual dream come true. So although I'm sad that we lost such an immense talent, I'm so grateful I got to experience Leslie in all his glory that evening. It was one of those magical, Nashville nights I won't soon forget.