updated 09/29/2010 AT 4:00 PM ET
•originally published 09/29/2010 AT 4:15 PM ET
The Grand Ole Opry House came full circle Tuesday night, reopening its doors for the first time since Nashville’s flood ravaged the country music institution five months ago.
“This is a metaphorical for all of Nashville,” Brad Paisley told reporters before the evening’s historic performance at the renovated theater, the home of the Opry since 1974. “The Opry and this city suffered a terrible tragedy … but the Opry rose and so has the city.”
At the start of the show, the curtain lifted to reveal Paisley and Little Jimmy Dickens – the Opry’s oldest member – standing on a dimly lit stage in the famous circle of oak preserved from the original Opry stage at the Ryman Auditorium. The circle was the only remnant saved and restored from the stage, which was submerged beneath four feet of water in the May flood.