Artists: Judy Collins (vocals and 12 string guitar), and Madeleine Peyroux (guitar)
Musicians: Thad DeBrock (keyboard), Ari Hest (guitar), Zev Katz (bass) and Doug Yowell (percussion)
Concert at Johnson County Community College, Midwest Trust Center, Overland Park, Kansas
May 22, 2022
Judy Collins latest CD “Spellbound” containing original Collins songs, including "When I Was A Girl In Colorado," "Spellbound" and "Arizona." This is the “Spellbound” Tour.
Judy Collins writes poetry and then comes the melody. Close your eyes and listen to the lyrics and the voice. At age 83, Judy can still reach the high notes loud and clear. Doing over 100 concerts a year and being booked ahead two years, one can sometimes forget where they are. It happened this night, and the audience went along with it. Wrong auditorium, wrong county, but who cares? She arrived in style, calling herself “The American Idol of 1956.”
Before Judy Collins comes on stage, we have 50 minutes of songstress Madeleine Peyroux. I was unfamiliar with her voice and style of singing. Amplification for her set was a bit off and this led to highs and lows in the music that perhaps were unintended. Peyroux’s breakout album was in 2004 when she did “Careless Love.” Though known as a jazz singer, she is a lounge singer, more for the intimate setting of a night club where you can take one word and sing around that word for minutes. She was a hit with the audience, some who came just to hear her, and left after her set. Highlight songs were “Summer Wind,” “Careless Love” and my favorite, “Dance Me To The End Of Love.” What a title for a book.
After intermission, came Judy Collins, dressed in black and sequins, flowing white hair, guitar, and ready to sing. In-between songs, she speaks of her life as a singing star and people she has known such as Bob Dylan (knew him when he was homeless and could never reach him about a certain song), Stephan Stills (last toured five years ago and he hasn’t toured since) and Leonard Cohen and his “Suzanne.”. That particular song was not on this night’s play list, to the discernment of many who especially like it. In tuning her guitar, Judy murmured “So many strings…so little time….” She has a quick wit, as does Peyroux, so bantering with the audience comes with the show. Peyroux, when asked if her name was Irish, stated to the person, “Have you ever traveled abroad?”
Since there was no printed program that night----and is this a cost-saving measure? People were to use a Smart Phone to scan a large print on the wall and then open to find the program. Many could not do this.. Favorite songs of the evening were “Amazing Grace,” “When I Was A Girl In Colorado,” “Clouds,” “Both Sides Now,” “Highwayman” and “Send In The Clowns.” Collins would occasionally accompany herself on a large Steinway. When she ended with “Send In The Clowns,” came the standing ovation and clapping – no encore.
After a nearly two-and-a-half hour program, the legend left town and on to other cities and countries, leaving behind fans who would love to hear “Amazing Grace” and have the clowns show up - one more time.
Copyright 2022 Marie Asner