When Naomi Judd appeared onstage briefly with her daughter Wynonna to perform a few songs at the CMA Music Festival in June 2009, the reaction from their fans was off the charts.
When Naomi Judd appeared onstage briefly with her daughter Wynonna to perform a few songs at the CMA Music Festival in June 2009, the reaction from their fans was off the charts. In 1990, Naomi had announced she would retire following a Judds farewell tour, culminating with Their Final Concert, and had only once toured since then, in the brief Power to Change tour in 2000. Ten years later, in response to the amazing reaction from their fans, The Judds returned to the 2010 CMA Music Festival to announce The Last Encore tour, launched November 26th, 2010 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
Much had changed in the world of touring technology since the Judds had last been on the road, and while they embraced many new ideas, it was clear there would also need to be an “old fashioned” element to the design. This was achieved by creating an intimate space-within-a-space using a rear LED wall in an arch, rimmed around the top with moving lights. The video wall had a soothing effect in contrast to the moving fixtures, framing the Judds and the band, and giving them command of the stage. The curved front of the main stage was also offset with a 20-foot thrust terminating in a 10- foot round front stage, then lit with custom over-sized LED Fresnels hung from a curved truss, creating the effect of a vintage 1950’s soundstage.
Working with the Judds, and being sensitive to the need to support, not overwhelm, their narrative, took the tour design to another level. Though surrounded by technology that could create awesome effect, the challenge was to be able to pull the process back and do more with less if required. It brought a fresh eye to the creative process of The Last Encore’s design.