Wynonna Judd Gets Emotional Performing Tribute to Mother Naomi Judd Alongside Brandi Carlile

by Taylor Cunningham
(Photo by Mickey Bernal/Getty Images)

Wynonna Judd opened the first night of The Final Tour with an emotional tribute to her late mother, Naomi Judd.

The Release Me singer announced the 11-stop event earlier this year. It was intended to be an encore for The Judds, which featured her and Naomi in the 1980s and 1990s. And when Naomi took her own life in April, Wynonna decided to honor the concert dates as a way of paying tribute to her mother.

As Wynonna Judd greeted a crowd at the Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, Michigan on Friday, she was visibly touched by the turnout and gave her fans a tearful welcome.

“I’m speechless, actually,” Judd said in a clip that was shared on Twitter by Lynne J. Johnson. “Thank you for coming to my party.”

Just days before she embarked on the tour, Wynonna gave her first interview since her mother’s passing. And she admitted that while mourning, she’s been dealing with grief and anger that she doesn’t think will ever completely subside. And going on the road and singing the hits she recorded with Naomi would certainly be a heartbreaking endeavor. But she was certain there would be something cathartic about the experience.

“As I walk out on stage that first night, I’ll probably say something like, ‘It’s not supposed to be like this,’ because it’s not, right? It’s supposed to be the two of us. And I’m gonna be angry because she’s not there,” she said on CBS Sunday Morning. “I wanna come out on stage and sing from my toenails a song that helps someone out in that audience. … It’s about me singing to help someone feel better. That’s always in my spirit.”

Several Country Stars Will Take the Stage with Wynonna Judd For ‘The Final Tour’

The 58-year-old announced her plans to carry on with the show during a celebration of Naomi’s life and music career.

“I made a decision and I thought I’d share it on national television that after a lot of thought, I’m going to have to honor her and do this tour. I’m just going to have to,” she said. “Because that’s what you would want, and Bono once told me give them what they want, not what you want.”

Brandi Carlile is one of six County music stars who will help Wynonna as she performs across the country. Faith Hill, Ashley McBryde, Little Big Town, Trisha Yearwood, and Martina McBride will also make appearances.

Wynonna Judd plays in Toledo, OH tonight (Oct.1) and heads to Sioux Falls, SD next weekend. The tour will close in Lexington, KY on Oct 29. Tickets are still available through her official website.