Fire, attitude and inspiration – those are the three words I would use to describe Wynonna Judd. Wynonna and her new band The Big Noise played The Joint at Hard Rock Casino Tulsa on June 25, 2015. The entire show was on fire just like Wynonna’s amazing red hair.
Wynonna started the show with just herself and her guitar. She was dressed in all black, including black lace gloves. Her red hair was covered in sparkles and against the black velvet suit it glowed. She opened with The Judds’ hit “Mama.” She paused throughout the song waiting for the crowd to cheer and showed us her spunky attitude right from the beginning. She posed for pictures when she would see someone with a camera and even asked two people in the front row to take a selfie and then put rabbit ears on them for the picture. She drew us in with her personality right away and then blew us away with her voice.
She sang her own hit “Rock Bottom” and then The Judds’ “Why Not Me” which was reproduced by her husband of three years and drummer Cactus Moser. She talked a lot about her mama, Naomi Judd, and how she raised her. She mentioned that Naomi’s mom had Naomi at 18, Naomi had Wynonna at 18 and when Wynonna was 18 she made her mom a millionaire. She had a lot of jokes and stories about sharing the bus with her mom all the years they toured together and also about growing up with her sister Ashley.
She mentioned she had new music coming out soon. The crowd cheered. She used this to take a dig at so-called “Bro Country” by saying she liked those guys and the songs but could you picture her mama in her prissy little dress saying things like “I want to check you for ticks” or “Truck, Yeah.” She even made a nod to #saladgate saying to “watch out, the ladies are coming back to kick your a**.” There was that fiery, red-headed spunk again.
She sang some love songs to her husband Cactus, including “Staying in Love” and “Love is Alive.” He was in a horrific motorcycle accident and lost his leg. The doctors said he would never play the drums again but he definitely proved them wrong. He was amazing on the drums and it was very obvious that Wynonna is still enamored with him. At one point she even forgot the words to a song because she was watching him play drums. During the encore she stood behind him while he played and had so much adoration and love in her eyes and then decided to have a little fun playing with his hair while he continued to bang away. It was so cute to see their chemistry on stage.
The inspirational part of her not only came from the story of Cactus coming back from his injuries but also when she sang “Testify to Love” from the Touched by an Angel Soundtrack and mixed it with Eric Clapton’s “Change the World.” She followed that with her version of Foreigner’s “I Want to Know What Love is.” When she sang her new song “Jesus and a Jukebox” I found myself completely entranced. She sang it with such conviction and passion it was the only time all night I stood still.
Her new song “Cool Ya” was sassy and fit her personality well with a funky blues beat to it. She finished the show with The Judds’ familiar hits “I Know Where I’m Going” and “Love is Alive” and her own “No One Else on Earth.” The audience that sat for most of the night rose to their feet and sang right along with her.
She came out barefoot for her encore and sang The Judds’ “Give A Little Love” and the blues song “Crossroads.” She seemed to be having a great time taking selfies and signing things for the audience while the band played. She definitely doesn’t take herself too seriously and enjoyed being up close with the fans.
Growing up in the 80s Naomi and Wynonna Judd were two of my childhood idols – partly because I am a redhead and I identified with them on that level – but also because of their beauty, strength and amazing vocal talent. Wynonna has had her struggles through the years but she seems to be in a good place both personally and professionally. She can still belt out those wonderful country and blues tunes yet bring you to tears with the soft inspirational songs. It was an absolute dream come true to see her perform and I hope it’s not the last time I get to do it.