Power Line

Wynonna defies the panic

We appear to be in the “cancel all the things” phase of the Coronavirus panic. I don’t purport to know the appropriate level of concern, although I assume it should be high. I take it, however, that many Americans of different stripes are highly invested in raising the level of concern to a panic and exploiting it for their own purposes. That can’t be right.

My wife and I joined John and Loree Hinderaker to see Wynonna Judd and Cactus Moser (her husband) at the Dakota last night in downtown Minneapolis. We took our chances and greeted each other as we always do, maybe a little more enthusiastically than usual — no social distancing at all. They told us that they were survivors of the swine flu pandemic of 2009 (I hope I’m not blowing any secrets). I don’t remember that one, let alone worrying about it.

Attending the event last night, we couldn’t help but have the Coronavirus panic on our mind. Thankfully, the show went on and the place was packed. Proprietor Lowell Picket had emailed an explanation of the precautionary measures they have undertaken at the club and was on hand to introduce Wynonna. (The club’s precautionary measures are posted online here.)

Wynonna talked at the top of the show about traveling overnight to Minneapolis with her husband on their tour bus. Driving through the heart of the devastation in Nashville, she said she worried that no one would show up last night. In the context of the thrilled audience that turned out, she expressed gratitude for her life and her husband and her band, deeming each a miracle. She also mentioned her mom’s survival after a grim prognosis delivered to her at the Mayo Clinic many years ago.

Wynonna put on a spectacular show. She has a big personality — she is hilarious — and a huge voice. The song selection, heavily blues inflected, reflected all the stages of her career and was otherwise terrific. Her facial expressions ran the gamut of emotions; I would guess she could be a better actress than her sister if she chose to pursue an acting career. The show was an experience.

Wynonna took advantage of the intimacy of the venue to talk to the audience throughout the show, as did the audience with her. One lady spoke for me when she shouted out that Wynonna touched a lot of hearts last night.

I had hoped that Wynonna would perform “Grandpa” without expecting that she might. I’m not sure if it was on her set list, but she performed it toward the end of the show when a couple of folks sitting up close requested it. I thought it hit home as we all sang along.

Wynonna not only defied the panic by showing up last night, she waited to pose onstage at the end of the show for a couple of selfies with particularly enthusiastic fans. It was the thirty-second Judd show for one gentleman who took advantage of the opportunity to grab a selfie with her.

Wynonna, by the way, appears again tonight. They have had a few cancellations, but most callers to the Dakota have expressed their relief that the show will go on. That was certainly our feeling last night. There are a few tickets left if you can make it. You won’t have many chances to see her in such an intimate venue.

NOTE: I meant to check for Jon Bream’s Star Tribune review before posting this. I didn’t see Jon there last night, but we are on the same wavelength about the show.

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