Friday’s Van Andel Arena show paid tribute to The Judds, part of a West Michigan weekend that boasted Sounds of the Zoo, Horizen Fest, the third-to-last show at Seven Steps Up and more. The Local Spins photos.
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Midway through Martina McBride’s opening set Friday at Van Andel Arena, the country singer delivered a rendition of her 2003 classic, “This One’s for the Girls.”
It couldn’t have signaled a more appropriate theme for the evening, which really was all about the girls — McBride, Wynonna Judd and special guest, Brandi Carlile — and all of it unleashed for one famous girl in particular: late legend Naomi Judd, who passed away in April at age 76.
The Grand Rapids tour stop originally was supposed to be part of The Judds’ final tour and instead served as a tribute to Wynonna’s famous mother, who helped make The Judds an award-winning, chart-topping, multi-platinum-selling act in the 1980s.
Carlile, who’s become a superstar in her own right in recent years, joined Judd on stage for more than a half-dozen songs, including “Guardian Angel” (with a video tribute intro to Naomi), “Love is Alive,” “Born to be Blue,” “Turn It Loose” and an encore version of “Why Not Me.”
Clearly, the show resonated with many Grand Rapids fans who later gushed about it on Facebook.
“Wynonna was awesome. She pulled on my heart strings a few times,” wrote Joe Panici. “What a strong and amazing person.”
Added fan Kit Todish Domers: “What an amazing night. She put her heart and soul into it. I hope she felt good about the night and that our reaction (and) love help her through the rest of the tour.”
(Carlile, by the way, joined Judd for her Toledo tour stop on Saturday, with Ashley McBryde taking her spot as special guest for next week’s show in South Dakota).
The arena show was part of another active weekend of live music that included the continuation of Kalamazoo’s Sounds of the Zoo festival at Bronson Park, Horizen Hydroponics’ annual Horizen Fest outside Grand Rapids, New Zealand-bred electronic music whiz Opiuo and country singer Larry Fleet at The Intersection, East Coast singer-songwriters Rebecca Loebe and Jesse Ruben playing the third-to-last show ever at Spring Lake’s Seven Steps Up, and Southwest Michigan’s Lower Leisure Class revving up Bell’s Brewery Eccentric Cafe. (Note: The Seven Steps Up building has been sold; get info on the final two shows here.)
Pleasant early autumn conditions greeted fans and musicians alike for Days 5 and 6 of Sounds of the Zoo, with performances by 10 Michigan-based artists on Friday and Saturday, from the jazz of Keith Hall Quartet kicking things off on Friday to DJ Mel V wrapping thins up on Saturday night. The festival wraps up at Bronson Park today (Sunday), with performances running from noon to 7 p.m. Get the schedule here.
Gorgeous sunny weather also blessed the return of Horizen Hydroponics’ Horizen Fest off Alpine Avenue NW in Grand Rapids, with performances by eight acts, including Earth Radio, Les Older, Jack Elliot, Junkie Swinger, Ficus, DrewPhoria, FlyLiteGemini and Beaver X-ing.
PHOTO GALLERY: Wynonna Judd, Brandi Carlile, Martina McBride at Van Andel Arena
Photos by Jim Hill
PHOTO GALLERY: Sounds of the Zoo (Kalamazoo) – Days 5 and 6
Photos by Derek Ketchum
PHOTO GALLERY: Opiuo, A Hundred Drums at The Intersection
Photos by Eric Stoike