Show Review: Judy Collins Played with Subtle Finesse at the Blue Note in Honolulu

Show Reviews

Judy Collins, The Blue Note, Honolulu, Hawaii, February 28, 2020


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At eighty years old you would think Ms. Judy Collins would have retired and be enjoying her golden years. Fortunately that is not the case. In the past three years she has played over a hundred shows with Stephen Stills which crisscrossed the country and is currently on tour through July and probably beyond. It was a pleasure to experience Judy Collins at the intimate 325 seat Blue Note Hawaii, rather than the theaters and concert halls in which she normally performs,

Judy Collins walked on stage, her extraordinary blue eyes and teeming white hair accented by a sequined black blouse. Russell Walden, her long time musical director, took his place behind the piano as Ms. Collins picked up her guitar. What followed was a personal history of songs and stories. For ninety minutes she played selections and told historical musical  anecdotes spanning her entire career. Collins stood center stage playing with a subtle finesse, Chording high up the fingerboard and strumming towards the neck accentuated the warm sound of her 12 string Martin D35. Remarkable after sixty years of performing she still has the nearly pitch perfect voice.

Ms. Collins shared the music she loves. The performance was filled with songs which blended into stories, intermingled with more songs and more stories. The concert’s timing and delivery never made the performance tiring or predictable. One of the many highlights included “Helplessly Hoping” which included stories of her romantic relationship with Stephen Stills. Another was “River.” Ms. Collins combined stories which recounted her introduction to Joni Mitchell in the sixties with her recent  introduction to Chatham County Line with whom she recently recorded the song with. Stephen Sondheim’s “Send In The Clowns” ended the set. The legendary folk singer  encored with “Amazing Grace” with the audience singing the melody and Collins the harmony. The audience bid her goodbye with a standing ovation.

By the end of the might you had the feeling of being with an old friend. The intimate setting and whimsical stories put the crowd at ease. Who knows how many tours Judy Collins will perform. As long as her voice holds and there is that twinkle in her eyes I will continue to attend local performances. Judy Collins will be touring through July. If you haven’t bought a ticket, do so now.

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