Pale Mama, Naomi, and her orange-faced daughter, Wynonna, at Mystic Lake

Star Tribune photo by Kyndell Harkness

 

Only twice in 24 years has Wynonna Judd not had her voice, she explained Tuesday at Mystic Lake Casino. Unfortunately, this was one of those nights.
Should the Judds have postponed or canceled this concert on their Final Encore Tour? It’s a fair question.
At least, Wynonna didn’t shortchange the crowd the way an ill Roger Daltrey did a the Who’s 2006 concert at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. Wy gave it her all, eliminating only one number – “Ave Maria,” a challenge to sing under any circumstances – from the night’s generous 32-song set list.
After intermission, her voice got stronger but during the fifth song, Foreigner’s “I Want To Know What Love Is,” she didn’t even essay the high notes. For the finale, the apt “Silent Night,” she asked a backup singer to take the first verse and handed the second verse to the Palmetto Strate Quartet, the Judds special guests (featuring Naomi’s deep-voiced husband Larry Strickland) who sang harmonies on nine selections. My review details the many vocal highlights of the 2 ½-hour performance.
Wynonna didn’t let the vocal challenges dampen her personality. She picked on folks in the front row, bantered with people who shouted requests and carried on like her usual sharp-tongued and sassy self.
By contrast, mother Naomi seemed like a parttime special guest at her fully blossomed daughter’s show. Mama said little (especially compared to the Judds’ heyday) and exited twice (for costume changes) while Wy did several tunes from her solo career. To be sure, Naomi and Wynonna held hands, exchanged glances and tried to harmonize. And they sparred a bit verbaslly but, overall, this performance lacked the laughter, looseness and emotions of their 2000 reunion show at Target Center.
Here is the Judds’ set list:
First set: Had a Dream/ Girls Night Out/ Love Is Alive/ Rockin with the Rhythm/ Old Pictures/ Cry Myself to Sleep/ Give a Little Love/ Young Love/ Baby’s Got the Blues/ River of Time   NAOMI EXITS She Is His Only Need/ No One Else on Earth/ Rock Bottom/ Only Love/ Is It Over Yet? NAOMI RETURNS   Born To Be Blue/ Guardian Angels/ Get Together (the Youngbloods song, done with a new-age-y arrangement, featuring Palmetto State Quartet)
Second set: WITHOUT NAOMI but with Palmetto State Quartet   Burnin Love/ Let’s Make a Baby King/ How Great Thou Art/ World Out of a Dream/ I Want to Know What Love Is NAOMI RETURNS Tell You About Love (with Palmetto)/ Don’t Be Cruel (with Palmetto) Mama He’s Crazy/ Why Not Me/ Grandpa/ Love Can Build a Bridge   
Encore: It’s the Messiah/ Silent Night

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