Riding the Rail: Wynonna & Friends Niagara Falls, NY
Wynonna & Friends rolled into Niagara Falls, NY on March 7th for their performance at the Seneca Niagara Casino’s Seneca Events Center. The 50-year-old vocalist’s current tour is billed as an evening of “Stories & Song,” giving the audience intimate glipse into the Country superstars life and music. Country music and stories seemingly go hand in hand and most musicians have a story or two to tell. So, with a three-decade career that has included chart-topping highs, public lows as well as five Grammy awards along the way, you can bet that Wynonna has some tales to tell.
From the onset, it was clear this would be a show unlike any other. Wynonna dressed in black and alone on stage walked up to the microphone strumming her acoustic guitar as she opened up with “Mama He’s Crazy.” The crowd immediately roared with enthusiastic approval, and was a terrific song that really showcased her incredible vocal range and capabilities. After the first number she took some time to greet the crowd and graciously thanked them for attending the show. She followed this up with a quick question to the audience. “How many folks have never attended one of my concerts?” Amazingly half the crowd raised their hands and at which she jokingly responded “About Friggin’ time!!” Which drew huge laughs from the audience.
For the next song, accompanied by her three-piece backing band, that included a guitarist, bassist and her husband Cactus Moser (drummer) playing banjo gathered around Wynonna for an acoustic rendition of “Rock Bottom.” She followed this up with “Testify To Love” into a soulful rendition of Eric Clapton’s “Change The World.” Each and every song she performed was a delectable treat that only got better as the show progressed.
Wynonna would take time between each song to eloquently give the crowd some insight into her life. She blended stories with witty humor that left the folks chucking through most of these tales. Stories of her childhood in the Virginia Mountains including time spent in the Naomi Judd Correctional Facility, her signing a record deal with RCA at 18 and touring as part of the mother-daughter due The Judds. The lone exception to these humorous tales was the horrific recantation of the 2012 motorcycle accident involving husband and drummer Cactus Moser that resulted in him losing his left leg. But, with all these stories there seemed to be a central message, inspiration and the celebration of life.
Wynonna is truly loved by her fans, and she without hesitation interacted with the audience continuously throughout the show, answering to their calls and comments. Several times, she interrupted her stories to allow adoring fans to bring up flowers to her and even posed for a few photos with these people. Wynonna had truly delivered some special moments, not just for those fans but to the entire audience with her endearing personality.
In addition to Wynonna’s sensational voice, was her supporting band. Simply put, enough can’t be said about these guys as musicians. They are top notch musicians who lit up the stage as they went from one song to the next. As Wynonna continuously shifted the tempo of the show, these guys accompanied her wonderfully.
Some other notable highlights included the simplistic style and searing lyrics of “Grampa (Tell Me About the Good Ole’ Days),” the jazzy composition of “Cow Cow Boogie,” and no doubt her smoldering vocals on “No One Else On Earth” was a phenomenal conclusion to a spectacular performance.
After a brief pause Wynonna returned to the stage. A veteran performer knows how to end on a high note and Wynonna certainly accomplished this by ending with stunning 17 minute encore that included “Dream Chaser,” “Hearts I Leave Behind,” and “Give A Little Love.” But it wasn’t over yet!! Their performance of Robert Johnson’s “Cross Road Blues” was an electrifying punctuation mark on a performance that left this audience stunned and amazed. The Band took over as Wynona exited the stage to a ferocious version of Cream’s “White Room.” All told, undoubtly this impressive performance will long be remembered by those in attendance.
Mama He’s Crazy-Rock Bottom-Tesitfy To Love.>Change the World-Talk About Sufferring-Grampa (Tell Me About the Good Ole’ Days)-Had a Dream (For The Heart)-Cow Cow Boogie-What It Takes-She Is Hs Only Need-Why Not Me-Turn It Loose-No One Else On Earth-
Dream Chaser-Hearts I Leave Behind-Give A Little Love-Cross Road Blues