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Love Is Alive: The Judds

by Caroline Boyer

Love was alive in St. Louis last night as fans packed into Chaifetz Arena to experience “The Judds: The Final Tour.” With the help of friends Martina McBride and Kelsea Ballerini, Wynonna Judd celebrated life, love, and incredible music.

Martina McBride kicked off the night, taking the crowd back in time with hits like “A Broken Wing,” “This One’s For the Girls,” and “Independence Day.” Thirty years later and she is still a powerhouse- rocking her hits with the same energy and vocals you hear on the radio. By the end of her set the crowd was buzzing and ready for the one and only, Wynonna.

The show kicked off with sass and glamor as the country music icon belted out classics like “Had a Dream (For the Heart)” and “Give a Little Love.” Wynonna then brought Kelsea Ballerini and Martina McBride to the stage for “Girls Night Out” and you could feel the love radiating from the stage.

After a few more hits, the screens behind the stage began to show pictures of Wynonna and the missing part of this tour- the late and great, Naomi Judd. After tragically losing her mother last year, Wynonna explained that she still felt the need to go forward with the tour in order to celebrate Naomi’s life with the fans- and that is exactly what she did. With songs like “I Know Where I’m Going” and “Guardian Angel,” it felt like The Judds fans had a moment not just to grieve with Wynonna, but to celebrate the bond she had with her mom and the legacy they have left on country music.

The night carried on with more hits by The Judds, accompanied by Ballerini and McBride sporadically, as well as section of the set for Wynonna Judd’s solo hits, including “She Is His Only Need” and “I Saw the Light.” Her roaring voice set the crowd aflame just in time for the climax of the show.

As Naomi appeared on the screen behind her, Wynonna sang “Love Can Build a Bridge” right to her mom. It was an incredibly beautiful tribute, and seemed so raw and vulnerable during what can only be described as a traumatic loss. Wynonna then finished the night out with a powerful acoustic version of “Mama He’s Crazy,” followed by, of course, “Grandpa (Tell Me ‘Bout the Good Old Days)” and “Why Not Me.”

Despite the undeniable loss of “mama” that was grieved throughout the show, the night was truly more than sadness. It was a celebration of legendary women, powerful musical talent, and above all, love.

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