After months of lead-in, the Judds have set 18 dates for a 2010 tour, plotting it for a time on the calendar that’s exceedingly appropriate for a family reunion.
Wynonna and Naomi will kick off the Last Encore Tour on Nov. 26, the day after Thanksgiving, in Green Bay, Wis. They’ll spend most of their time in the Midwest and on the West Coast, winding down the run on Dec. 19 in Phoenix, Ariz., at the US Airways Center, the same arena where they recorded a reunion album on Dec. 31, 1999.
The Judds unveiled the dates and the tour name Thursday, less than two hours after delivering a 10-song set at Nashville’s Riverfront Park to kick off the four-day CMA Music Festival. The appearance blended nostalgic Judds favorites with several solo Wynonna performances and gave a hint of the musical flavor of the upcoming tour. They infused “Rockin’ With The Rhythm Of The Rain” with a slight New Orleans vibe and dropped a Georgia Satellites groove onto “No One Else On Earth.”
Jacqualine Budgell, of Murfreesboro, Tenn., provided the Last Encore tour name, winning a contest over thousands of entries from other fans. Wynonna and Naomi liked the title, but they’re honest enough to admit that this reunion might not really be the last.
“All I can tell you is that for right now, in this moment, this heartbeat, this breath, this is what we’re doing,” Wy said. “I always leave the door open.”
Whether there are more tours is likely dependent on the tone of this tour backstage. The Judds had a notably feisty relationship when mother and daughter rolled across American highways in the same bus at their commercial peak. Naomi has gained some perspective on the process since she was forced by illness to retire from the road. And Wynonna has admittedly matured. They’ll be travelling this time around in separate buses, giving each other a little space.
The fans clearly want to see the Judds again. But Wynonna and Naomi won’t keep making harmony in public if they can’t find it in their private time.
“It’s not just supply and demand,” Naomi said. “We’re pretty ornery. And with us, if it ain’t fun, it ain’t done.”
A complete itinerary for the Last Encore Tour can be found here.