Wynonna Judd played The Judds Final Concert, titled “Love Is Alive,” at the Murphy Center on the MTSU campus last week (11/4). That’s where she and her mother played their final concert in December of 1991 before Wynonna embarked on a solo career. The show featured several guests and was filmed for a CMT special to air in the near future.
The guests were the same ones that joined Wynonna on “The Judds Final Tour,” which was planned before Naomi took her own life, just one day before being inducted into the Country Music Hall Of Fame. Wy did the tour anyway to honor her mom and those country music friends stepped up quickly to play Naomi’s part on tour.
As a journalist covering country music for over 25 years, I expected the night to be full of great performances from Wynonna singing Judds hits with special guests Little Big Town, Martina McBride, Ashley McBryde, Kelsea Ballerini, and Brandi Carlile, to be great. What I did not expect was to get so emotional myself.
The show started with Wynonna singing some Judd hits, and then she was joined by Little Big Town to sing the classic “Love Is Alive.” Tears rolled down my face as they began to sing, as I recalled sitting next to my own mom ( who passed in 2015) during the 1991 concert as Wynonna honored her mom. While they sang the song, fans started to light up their phones, and Wynonna told the crowd, “Let your light shine.”
Wynonna’s vocals were spot-on after what she called “an emotional day,” and she carried so much emotion in each word she sang it was clear to see why the die-hard fans cheered and stood at almost every song’s close and, throughout the night kept screaming, “Love You Wynonna” many times calling her “Queen.”
Highlights of the two-hour-long show included:
- Kelsea Ballerini joining her in a blue pantsuit to sing the Judds’ hit “Born To Be Blue.” As Kelsea left the stage, Wynonna said, “The next generation of greatness.”
- During a set of her solo songs, Wynonna did a cover of the classic Foreigner rock song “I Want To Know What Love Is,” and she sang the hell out of it, bringing the crowd to their feet as fire rained down from the back of the stage.
- Before she sang the Judds’ song “River Of Time,” she told the audience that Noami wrote this one just for them.
- Brandi Carlile and Little Big Town joined Wynonna for the Judds’ “Turn It Loose,” and Carlile hung around a bit to sing backup for Wynonna on several songs.
- As the night came to a close, Wynonna started to sing one of the Judds’ biggest and first hits, “Mama He’s Crazy,” with just a guitar she played; as the crowd began to sing every word, she stopped and listened to them and said, “You still know the words, and that’s about as good as it gets y’all.”
- She then sang “Grandpa, Tell Me ‘Bout The Good Ole Days” and “Why Not Me,” an early hit that is so catchy that my husband and I have been singing that one for almost a week.
The night ended on the song that everyone knew it would, The Judds’ “Love Can Build A Bridge,” a song Naomi wrote, and all of Wy’s guests, a church choir wearing white robes, and the whole crowd sang together.
The show was nothing short of spectacular and showed everyone just why The Judds were so important to country music, were made members of the Country Music Hall Of Fame this year, and why The Judds are so beloved the world over.