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Wynonna Judd will re-create the last concert she preformed with her late mother, Naomi Judd, in a special show at Middle Tennessee State University on Nov. 3.
“This is a big fat hairy deal for me. 31 years ago, almost to the day, I did my last concert with my mom and we are recreating it,” Judd told a crowd of press on Wednesday morning at Fox & Locke restaurant in Leipers Fork, Tennessee.
The concert, which will take place at MTSU’s Murphy Center, where the 1991 performance was set, will follow a sold-out show at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville. Judd announced on Monday that her final tour will be extended with 15 additional shows.
Judd is inviting the artists who performed during the 1991 show back for this event, as well as artists who have been with her on tour this year, including Ashley McBryde, Brandi Carlile, Kelsea Ballerini, Little Big Town and Martina McBride.
The country legend said this last tour has been like nothing she has experienced before, and described it as a remarkable combination of “joy and sorrow, pain and pleasure.” It was initially intended as a Judds farewell tour with her mother, prior to Naomi’s death on April 30. The tour is now a celebration of her life and legacy.
“Every night [the fans are] singing so loud that I stand back from the mic and just weep. It’s remarkable,” said Judd, adding that she’ll often talk about or speak directly to her late mother while on stage. It feels like visiting the past, she said, but also living in the present and publicly grieving. “I look up a lot,” she said. “I talk to her a lot.”
When asked what she remembers about the 1991 concert, Judd said she and Naomi were both sick and quarantined right up until the show. She was told that if she sang she might permanently damage her vocal cords. “If you listen to the voice, I’m barely there,” she added.
This time around she’ll be wearing the same costumes and have almost the same hair, Judd said, noting that 1991 was “pre-hairdresser.”
Judd is a longtime Tennessee resident and said she’s especially nervous about her upcoming local performances.
“Everyone from my lawyer to my gynecologist to my preacher to people I don’t even like” are coming to see her perform. Judd says with a laugh, “It’s weird as hell to play your hometown.”
The Judds: Love Is Alive — The Final Concert is a co-production from CMT and Sandbox Productions. It will air on CMT in March 2023.
“I remember being 15 and watching that special over and over. It stuck with me,” music manager and Sandbox Entertainment CEO Jason Owen tells THR. “Going back to the actual room that it was filmed in and almost re-creating the stage, we’re doing a modern twist, and experiencing that with Wynonna is something I will remember forever.”
It’s a full-circle moment for many of the people involved, including executive producer and CMT’s senior vp music and events Margaret Comeaux, who is an alumna of the university and was involved in the 1991 performance. “It was one of the first productions I ever worked on at MTSU,” she says. “To be able to go back and give a whole new generation of students that experience is really special.”
Tickets went on sale Wednesday at 2 p.m. CT. A portion of proceeds will benefit NAMI Tennessee, a grassroots mental health organization.
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