On Dec. 4, 1991, the Judds performed what they thought would be their final concert. Nineteen years later to the day, the duo presented two and a-half hours worth of music and memories in St. Charles, Mo., as part of their Last Encore tour.
“Welcome to our living room,” exclaimed Naomi, as the duo launched into a set that included such Judd favorites as “Girls Night Out,” “Rockin’ With the Rhythm of the Rain” and “Young Love,” plus a few rare gems. Among the lesser known tunes were “Old Pictures,” “Cry Myself to Sleep” and “Guardian Angels.” Throughout the night, Wynonna and Naomi worked hard to engage the entire crowd at Family Arena. On several occasions, they made use of a catwalk that stretched 10 rows into the crowd, allowing fans an up-close-and-personal view of the action. A large video screen was often used to take fans down memory lane with displays of personal photos and video footage of the duo’s career highlights. Wynonna spent most of the show behind her mic stand, playing guitar and taking lead vocals as Naomi pranced around the stage, adding harmonies, shaking hands and even taking a few photos of her daughter for fans.
Wynonna did a little dancing of her own during a brief set of tunes from her solo career while Naomi left the stage to “put on another prissy butt dress,” as Wy explained. “When mama’s away, daughter must play,” Wynonna quipped, before launching into an amped up version of “No One Else on Earth” and showing her tender side on “Only Love” and “Is It Over Yet.”
Naomi had promised lots of sparkly outfits on this tour and did not disappoint with a total of four costume changes. Her wardrobe included a bedazzled white dress with a long flowing skirt; a short, silver cocktail dress reminiscent of a disco ball; and a salmon colored cape with flowing sleeves, as well as a short and shiny green party dress. Wynonna did her share of shining, wearing a sequined black coat over the top of an all -black attire and changing into a shimmering silver coat midway through the show.
In one of the evening’s funnier moments, Naomi pointed out a man seated down front whom she believed had been dragged to the concert by his wife. To prove her theory, she challenged him to name one Judds song for a hundred dollars but waved off her offer when it was clear he was getting the answers from his significant other. Wynonna made another fan’s night by thanking a mother in the front row for helping create “a new generation of Juddheads” and inviting her young daughter onstage for a picture. Naomi joked with the little girl, “We must be related,” pointing out that they shared a mutual love of bling.
Following a brief intermission, Wynonna kicked off another brief solo set with Elvis Presley’s “Burning Love.” And just as the King of Rock ’n’ Roll had his Jordanaires, Wy was backed by the Palmetto State Quartet, featuring Naomi’s husband, Larry Strickland. Elvis himself made an appearance via video screen when Naomi returned to the stage to help cover “Don’t Be Cruel.” For their grand finale, Wynonna and Naomi, perched on a pair of stools, led singalongs of “Why Not Me,” “Mama He’s Crazy” and “Grandpa” before ending with “Love Can Build a Bridge.” Feeling the holiday spirit, Wynonna returned to the stage to give the fans one last gift — a Christmas-themed encore. Standing alone in an elegant, long black dress, she showcased her vocals and talent for singing in Italian with “Ave Maria.” Naomi joined her, wearing a deep red Christmas gown, to perform “It’s the Messiah.” The night ended with one last singalong as the Judds invited everyone in the arena to sing “Silent Night.”