The Judds’ Last Encore Tour Is Full of Mother-Daughter Banter and Love
After winning the CMA’s Vocal Group/Duo of the Year Award every year from 1985 to 1991, Naomi and Wynonna Judd were forced to split when Naomi was diagnosed with chronic hepatitis. Through the years, her condition has improved and she’s been able to reunite with her daughter on occasion, and now, the Judds are back together for their Last Encore Tour and a new docu-series on Oprah Winfrey’s network, OWN.
On Saturday, March 19, the Judds lit up the stage at the MGM Grand at Foxwoods Resort in Ledyard, Conn. for the first stop of their 2011 tour. The show started with Wynonna’s distinctive low voice belting out the first line of the Judds’ debut release from 1983, ‘Had A Dream (For the Heart).’ When the chorus kicked in, Naomi appeared from the back of the stage as a feeling of a long overdue reunion swept the room. Providing her signature harmony to Wynonna’s lead, the angelic mix reminded the packed house of why these two ladies sold out arenas and racked up 14 No. 1 hits.
Hit after hit was performed, and fans were happy to sing along with classics like ‘Mama, He’s Crazy,’ ‘Why Not Me,’ ‘Rockin’ With the Rhythm of the Rain’ and ‘Young Love.’ The acoustics of the MGM, the tight band featuring longtime Judds’ guitarist and producer Don Potter and the strong vocals of these country divas were so perfect that one might think they were listening to a studio recording. Of course, the silly mother-daughter banter all night proved that this show was anything but!
Fans laughed and smiled as Naomi merrily danced around the stage and teased her daughter. Wynonna responded to many of her mom’s crazy antics the same way that we would react when our own parents try to embarrass us, with a blushing grin and a side to side head shake.
Naomi then did what any child would not want to witness … she kissed her husband in front of the crowd! Wynonna’s stepfather, Larry Strickland, was a part of an amazing quartet that backed up the Judds on a few songs that included the Elvis covers ‘Burnin’ Love’ and ‘Don’t Be Cruel.’ Prior to meeting Naomi and playing in the Judds’ band, Strickland was actually a back-up singer for Elvis. Wynonna’s response to the uncomfortable sight of watching her parents “making out” was predictable — she shook her head in disbelief and with a disgusted look, she simply said, “You guys are so corny!”
The room was full of love, and it was quite obvious that Naomi was absolutely thrilled and thankful to be back onstage. Fans loved to watch the interaction, and a few standing ovations showed some love towards Wynonna’s immaculate vocals on ‘How Great Thou Art’ and ‘I Want to Know What Love Is.’
At times, overcome with emotion, Noami’s eyes filled up with tears as she expressed how thankful she was just to be healthy and onstage. Along the way, she encouraged fans with words of inspiration that have helped the Judd family get through some trying times. The most notable: reminding everyone that life is good ”as long as we have music and something to look forward to, like shows and nights like this!”