The Judds Welcome Crowds to CMA Music Festival, Announce Tour Dates

Duo Will Begin 18-City Tour on Nov. 26 in Green Bay, Wis.

The Judds welcomed thousands of tourists to the 2010 CMA Music Festival ’s first official day with a 10-song concert on Thursday morning (June 10) at Riverfront Park in downtown Nashville. And a few hours later, Naomi and Wynonna Judd held a press conference at the Nashville Convention Center to reveal dates for their Last Encore tour.

One of the most popular country acts of the 1980s, the duo led their midmorning set with “Give a Little Love,” “Rockin’ With the Rhythm of the Rain” and “Love Is Alive.” After Naomi went to “change her rhinestones,” Wynonna delivered solo renditions of “No One Else on Earth” and “I Can Only Imagine.” In between those songs, she asked the crowd to raise their hands if they had never seen her, or the Judds, in concert before. Hundreds of arms went into the air, prompting the singer to exclaim, “Oh, no!” After surveying the scene, she remarked, “That’s humbling. Where you have been?”

Naomi returned for “Young Love,” “Mama He’s Crazy,” “Why Not Me,” “Grandpa (Tell Me ’Bout the Good Old Days)” and “Love Can Build a Bridge,” although the mother-daughter team often turned their microphones toward the crowd at the familiar choruses. Wynonna told the audience she asked God for two things when her mother retired from the duo in 1991 after being diagnosed with hepatitis C — that her mother would heal and that God would indicate when it was time to get back together.

At the press conference a few hours later, Wynonna told reporters she trusted her woman’s intuition when she decided to reunite for a tour and that concert bookers had suggested there was a demand for it. She also said she was eager to introduce the Judds’ music to a new generation. Thus, the duo announced their 18-city tour will begin Nov. 26 in Green Bay, Wis., and conclude Dec. 19 in Phoenix. Nearly all of the dates are in the Midwest or on the West Coast. Their only Southern date is in Louisville, Ky., about 200 miles west of their hometown of Ashland, Ky.

Reporters broke into laughter when Wynonna said there will not be a stop in Nashville because too many people would expect to get in for free. She also said there will not be an opening act because they already have enough material to fill an extensive set list. The duo has partnered with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital for the tour to raise awareness of the facility in Memphis, where no child is ever denied medical treatment because of a family’s inability to pay.

They cited the crowd’s response to their 2009 set at the CMA Music Festival as the impetus to get the duo back together for a tour. In addition, Wynonna repeatedly mentioned that her relationship with Naomi is now more healthy and respectful. As for new music, Wynonna said, “We are looking for songs, and you’re going to be really surprised when you hear it. You’re going to go, ’Wow, that’s a stretch.’ But that’s what we’re trying to do.” However, she added, “We want to be as corny as we can get away with.”

The Last Encore tour dates are as follows:

Nov. 26 — Green Bay, Wis.
Nov. 27 — Mt. Pleasant, Mich.
Nov. 28 — Moline, Ill.
Nov. 30 — Prior Lake, Minn.
Dec. 2 — Columbus, Ohio
Dec. 3 — Louisville, Ky.
Dec. 4 — St. Charles, Mo.
Dec. 5 — Council Bluffs, Iowa
Dec. 7 — Colorado Springs, Colo.
Dec. 8 — Broomfield, Colo.
Dec. 9 — Salt Lake City
Dec. 11 — Oakland, Calif.
Dec. 12 — Sacramento, Calif.
Dec. 15 — Los Angeles
Dec. 16 — Santa Ynez, Calif.
Dec. 17 — Rancho Mirage, Calif.
Dec. 18 — Las Vegas
Dec. 19 — Phoenix