The Judds, the award-winning mother-daughter country duo consisting of Naomi Judd and Wynonna Judd, embarked on their final concert tour in 2022 after reuniting following a 10-year hiatus. The tour, titled “The Final Tour,” was announced in April 2022 and kicked off in September, with 11 scheduled arena dates across the United States. Unfortunately, just one day after the tour began, Naomi Judd tragically passed away, leaving Wynonna to move forward with the remainder of the tour dates as a solo act, supported by a full band. The Judds’ final tour served as a celebration of the duo’s prolific career, which included 14 number one hits, 5 Grammy awards, and over 20 million albums sold. As the tour visited cities across America for the last time, fans had the bittersweet opportunity to honor Naomi’s legacy and bid farewell to one of country music’s most beloved and decorated acts.
Background on The Judds
Naomi and Wynonna Judd, born Diana Ellen Judd and Christina Claire Ciminella, began performing together as a mother-daughter duo in the early 1980s, after Naomi recovered from Hepatitis C. Naomi was an established nurse, while Wynonna was still a teenager when their musical career began. After moving to Nashville, Tennessee, they caught the attention of record producers with Wynonna’s powerful lead vocals and Naomi’s tight harmonies. They signed their first record deal with RCA Records in 1983. That same year, Naomi gave birth to actress Ashley Judd, who became a famous actress in her own right.
The Judds released their debut EP in 1983, followed by their first full-length album Why Not Me in 1984. Fueled by singles like “Mama He’s Crazy” and “Why Not Me,” the album went to number one on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart. Their second album Rockin’ With the Rhythm soon followed in 1985, also topping the country charts with four number one singles.
Over the next seven years, The Judds continued achieving massive success, winning five Grammy awards and releasing six more number one albums. Their songs reflected central themes of family, rural life, and empowerment. Naomi provided harmonies while Wynonna sang lead vocals with her powerful, bluesy voice and trademark vibrato. During this peak period, they became the biggest-selling country duo in music history.
The Judds Reunite for “The Final Tour”
After completing a farewell tour in 1991, The Judds ceased performing together, with Wynonna pursuing a successful solo career and Naomi dedicating herself to activism and writing. The mother-daughter duo reunited sporadically over the years to perform at awards shows and Hall of Fame inductions.
In early 2022, Naomi and Wynonna announced “The Final Tour,” a 10-date arena concert tour across the U.S slated for fall 2022. They expressed excitement to celebrate their legacy with fans one last time. As Naomi stated, “What I’m looking forward to most is celebrating Judd music with the fans.”
Unfortunately, the reunion was marred by tragedy when Naomi Judd died by suicide just one day before the tour began on September 30. She was 76 years old at the time of her passing.
Wynonna Continues the Tour Solo
In the aftermath of her mother’s shocking death, Wynonna made the decision to move forward with the scheduled tour dates as a solo headliner, with support from her band. She explained this choice saying, “I am humbled, once again, by the loyalty of the fans who have been with us for 38+ years, who continue to show up for me when I need them the most. I am grateful that we will continue to honor The Judds’ legacy together.”
Wynonna honored her late mother during the performances, mixing The Judds’ hits and her own solo material. Special guest artists like Faith Hill, Ashley McBryde, Brandi Carlile, Martina McBride and Trisha Yearwood joined Wynonna on select nights.
While difficult, continuing the tour served as a cathartic experience for both Wynonna and the fans. As one reviewer wrote after a show, “The emotional evening was the musical celebration Naomi Judd desired. And it revealed that even with boundless resilience, Wynonna Judd still manages to find light among the shadows.”
The Judds Final Tour Dates
Here is a summary of the dates and locations visited during The Judds’ final tour in 2022:
|Grand Rapids, MI
|Van Andel Arena
|Sioux Falls, SD
|Denny Sanford PREMIER Center
|Green Bay, WI
|Gas South Arena
|Propst Arena at the Von Braun Center
|Choctaw Grand Theater
|Ft. Worth, TX
|Mississippi Coast Coliseum
Wynonna performed a mix of Judds classics and her own solo hits during the tour. Some songs she played at multiple tour stops included:
– “Mama He’s Crazy”
– “Girls Night Out”
– “Rockin’ With the Rhythm of the Rain”
– “Love Can Build a Bridge”
– “Grandpa (Tell Me ‘Bout the Good Old Days)”
– “Why Not Me”
– “Turn It Loose”
– “No One Else on Earth”
– “She Is His Only Need”
– “I Saw the Light”
She also performed duets with her special guests on select nights:
– “Come Some Rainy Day” with Ashley McBryde
– “Golden Ring” with Trisha Yearwood
– “Love Can Build a Bridge” with Brandi Carlile
– “Helpmate” with Martina McBride
The shows typically lasted around 90 minutes, not including the opening acts. Each night ended with an emotional performance of The Judds’ hit “Love Can Build a Bridge” as a moving tribute to Naomi.
Reviews of Wynonna’s solo shows were overwhelmingly positive, with critics praising her resolve and the celebrations of Judds’ music:
– “Naomi may be gone, but her spirit was ever present in the adoration shared between Wynonna and an arena packed solid with adoring fans.” – Glide Magazine
– “Wynonna poured her heart out on stage, captivating the audience with her signature vocal prowess that has made her a country legend.” – Sounds Like Nashville
– “The anthemic quality of their music catalog, steeped in reflective nostalgia and hardscrabble resilience, lent a gospel-like fervor…fans and Wynonna alike found communal catharsis.” – Nashville Scene
– “She summoned superhuman courage, stalking the stage with more conviction than any other performer I’ve seen this year.” – The Boot
Fans also reacted positively online, thanking Wynonna for her emotional performances:
– “Thank you for your strength and allowing all of us the opportunity to celebrate your music one last time.”
– “It was beautiful and heartbreaking and triumphant all at once. The perfect tribute.”
– “You did your mama proud tonight, Wynonna. What a show!”
The Judds’ Enduring Musical Legacy
While difficult due to the circumstances, The Judds’ 2022 “Final Tour” served as a fitting goodbye for the best-selling mother-daughter duo in country music history. Through ten arena shows, Wynonna gave fans a chance to celebrate the duo’s legacy of heartfelt songs, family harmonies, and resilience. Though Naomi’s tragic passing casts a pall over the farewell tour, her spirit was felt each night through the joyous performances of timeless hits.
The Judds broke down barriers for women in country music starting in the 1980s. Through their heartfelt lyrics about family and rural life, they connected with millions of fans across generations. Today, their influence continues to be felt, as evidenced by the adoration they received decades later on this final tour. Though the curtain has closed on their legendary on-stage partnership, Naomi and Wynonna Judd’s music will undoubtedly continue inspiring future artists and fans for years to come.