Wy runs wyld in Boston
Harborlights, Boston, July 9, 1997
BOSTON - The last line of the concert summed up the evening perfectly for Wynonna. "Did we have fun or what?" she said to the enthusiastic crowd after closing with "No One Else On Earth."
In reality, the question did not need to be asked at all. If anyone in the crowd didn't, they should have had their pulse checked. To put it simply, an enthusiastic Wynonna was at the top of her game playing a mix of soul, gospel and country, though the emphasis was clearly on the soulful songs.
The concert was similar to one given a year ago in the same venue, but with a crowd of only 2,600 in attendance. Judd is not touring on the heels of a new disc, unless you count a greatest hits disc. Her next one is due this fall.
But her far too-short (just about the only criticism of the entire night) 90-minute set was no exercise in painting by the numbers.
She started strongly with the chugging "Heaven Help My Heart," far more energetic than the album. Drummer Steve Potts and backing vocalists, a powerhouse trio of Kim Fleming, Robert Bailey and Vicki Hampton, who soared throughout the evening.
Judd mixed up the evening with songs from throughout her solo career and a lengthy acoustic segment, which worked quite well. As she did last year during this segment, she played a number of songs from the Judds, including "Mama He's Crazy" and "Grandpa (Tell Me 'Bout the Good Old Days)."
She also included "Change the World," an addition for the evening since she said she hadn't sung it in awhile. Judd put her own mark on the song - a Grammy winning hit for Eric Clapton and one she recorded for her "revelations" album - with a healthy Southern drawl.
When the band assumed positions after the acoustic set, Judd launched into "Why Not Me"" also a Judds song. Before starting, she thanked the crowd, "You have inspired me tonight....Dreams can come true...If it wasn't for you, I'd have to get a real job." Judd was able backed by her band of five plus a three-piece horn section and the backing vocalists. Guitarist Tom Bukovac added much bite to the songs throughout, while keyboardist Jon Glazer helped contribute to the soulful feel.
Like the best performers, Judd also had no fears about allowing her band to take center stage at various points. And this band deserved the chance.
Of course, the real focal point is Wynonna, who can belt it out with ease or go tender. She is a commanding singer and performer. Much of her banter is quite inspirational as well, telling people to take control of their lives. She also is a positive thinker, telling people to believe in their dreams.
She clearly draws much energy from the crowd, bantering back and forth with one male member in the front who was a diehard fan. The crowd often sang along to songs as well.
Wynonna sings and performs with full force. She clearly had fun doing so, and so did the crowd.
Jeff Wood, who wrote the John Michael Montgomery hit "Cowboy Love," showed he has a strong voice in a pared down 35-minute opening set. Wood only appeared with a drummer and fellow acoustic guitarist. The songs - more pop and adult contemporary than country - worked well in that context.