The Judds at Ravinia Festival 6.10.2011

“The Judds; Last Encore”


By Christian Scalise



Country music power duo, eight-time Academy of Country Music Award and five-time Grammy Award winners The Judds visited the Ravinia Festival for the very first time in Highland Park, Illinois on Friday June 10th, 2011 for a long awaited concert reunion.


The last time the mother-daughter duo hit the road together was nearly eleven years ago on their “Power To Change” tour which ended in 2000. This year marks the 25th anniversary of Judds music and what better of a way to celebrate than with the fans? 


The ever changing weather of Chicago cast a cool and misty front on the vast lawn and pavilion seating. For those not familiar with Ravinia, it’s a unique venue in the North Shore that offers the concertgoer a luxurious experience while they enjoy the music.


Patrons on the lawn bring in portable tables, blankets, lawn chairs, candles, wine, and all types of different cuisine to share with their friends and family while the reserved seating underneath the pavilion finds the more serious music lover with a clear view of the concert stage.


Starting promptly at 8pm, Wynonna stirred the crowd’s excitement by opening with “Had A Dream.” Shortly after the song progressed, Naomi walked onto the stage to join her daughter which resulted in an immediate standing ovation from the audience.


Both women looked absolutely stunning in their respective costumes. Wynonna and Naomi perfectly fit the ideal definition of what true stars should be; Wy was dressed all in black and covered in sparkles while Naomi wore an elegant glittery silver dress covered in sequins.


It wasn’t too long before a solid string of Judd’s hit songs filled the pavilion with the sweet sounds of Naomi’s accompanying vocals and Wynonna’s unmistakable vocal growl.


“Girls Night Out,” “Love Is Alive,” “Rockin’ With The Rhythm Of The Rain,” “Cry Myself To Sleep,” “Give A Little Love,” “Young Love,” “and “Water Of Love” brought fans back to the sentimental moments and beloved memories of The Judds “HERstory.”


One of the added specialties to the show was the constant imagery and video clips of Wynonna and Naomi through the years that played on the big screens behind and beside the stage.


There were plenty of fan-antics in the show that brought unexpected humor to the evening, such as a young man called out by Mother Judd. Brought to the show by his girlfriend, he did not know any Judds songs or who Naomi even was for that matter; Naomi had quite the time teasing him about his unfamiliarity with the duo. Might I mention it was all in good fun!


Another young man ran up to the stage to shake Wynonna’s hand and profess his admiration for her and Naomi. He was even bold enough to ask Wynonna to take a picture of him and Naomi on his cell phone. With that said there was a lot of interaction with the audience; taking pictures, shaking hands, signing autographs and lots of hugs.


Another fan lovingly yelled out “You both look beautiful tonight.” Wynonna wittingly replied, “Thanks, it takes four hours to get this way and thirty minutes for the spanx.” Wynonna’s sassy remark sent the audience into an uproar of laughter and cheers.


Mid-show, Naomi left the stage to change outfits leaving Wynonna with full command of the audience as a soloist. The six song set gave Wynonna the prime opportunity to showcase her widely versatile vocal range and talent as a singer.


With affluent interests in various genres of musical repertoire, Wynonna performed country, Gospel, contemporary, and Blues/Soul in the solo set that featured smash hits “No One Else On Earth,” “Is It Over Yet,” a cover of Elvis Presley’s “Hunk Of Burning Love,” classic Gospel treasure “How Great Thou Art” backed by the Palmetto State Quartet and a cover of Foreigner’s 1984 #1 hit, “I Want To Know What Love Is.”  


Returning to the stage in a green rhinestone dress, Naomi joined Wynonna on “Born To Be Blue,” “Let Me Tell You About Love,” another Elvis cover of “Don’t Be Cruel,” and Judd Hits, “Mama He’s Crazy,” “Why Not Me” and “Grandpa (Tell Me Bout’ The Good Ole Days).”


Naomi and Wynonna soaked in every ounce of glowing adulation and sincere devotion from their fans before taking a bow and then leaving the stage. The lights dimmed and for one last time The Judds returned to the stage to perform their signature hit, “Love Can Build A Bridge.”


The show was pure magic and proved that no matter what takes place between families, however much people change or whichever road life takes you on, the music and love for the fans will never falter.


The Judds are true country class and in my opinion, this tour should not be called “The Last Encore.” With a loyal fan base, the legacy of Judds music should keep a strong presence in each generation of music fans until God sees fit. I hope that Naomi and Wynonna will continue to tour together in the years to come.


One last thing, I spoke to several fans that attended the meet and greet for The Judds prior to the show, and their message was plain and clear; “They’ve maintained humility, respect and decency for those around them.” I only wish we could have been there ourselves to thank them personally with their commemorative plaque. God Bless.


**We'd also like to sincerely thank Amy Schrage of Ravinia Festival for permitting us to review the show for Country Stars Central.**


The Judds Set List:


1. Had A Dream


2. Girls Night Out


3. Love Is Alive


4. Rockin’ With The Rhythm Of The Rain


5. Cry Myself To Sleep


6. Give A Little Love


7. Young Love


8. Water Of Love


9. She Is His Only Need (Wy Solo)


10. No One Else On Earth (Wy Solo)


11. Is It Over Yet (Wy Solo)


12. Hunk Of Burning Love (Wy Solo)


13. How Great Thou Art (Wy Solo)


14. I Want To Know What Love Is (Wy Solo)


15. Born To Be Blue


16. Let Me Tell You About Love


17. Don’t Be Cruel


18. Mama He’s Crazy


19. Why Not Me


20. Grandpa (Tell Me Bout’ The Good Ole Days)


21. Love Can Build A Bridge



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Enjoy pictures from the show below. Copyright; Country Stars Central, Christian Scalise: