By Stephen Wilt
It was fifty years ago this year that singer-songwriter Stephen Stills first started his tumultuous love affair with the deep piercing eyes of Judy Collins. Their love immortalized by the generational hit “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes,” would go on to launch a career and shape modern music. Although romantically short-lived, their union of music, friendship and life remains vibrant today.
I sat down in an effort to catch up with Judy before she set off on tour last summer to talk about music, life, and her vibrant Tiffany Lamp collection.
“The first time I saw him I knew that our relationship was destined for life one way or another, whether musically or romantically our paths were bound to cross,” Judy said as she reminisced on first meeting Stephen Stills. When asked if the set between them still consisted of fan favorites such as “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes,” a simple “You betcha,” was Judy’s response. “Its so much fun to be singing that with him, it’s as wonderful as the day I first heard it!”
Stills and Collins did not fail to deliver on a nearly 2-hour performance to a massive sold-out show at the Smith Opera House. Unlike your typical reunion tour that majority of aging artists embarks on, consisting of perhaps a single original member, Stills, and Collins were never bandmates but musical partners. The reunion between them was about love, understanding and reliving an old flame.
Stills and Collins poked fun at each other as they went into notable favorites such as Buffalo Springfield’s “Blue Bird” and CSN hits. Perhaps stealing the audience and their hearts were Collins acapella rendition of “Dreamers.” Standing to a single spotlight her voice leads the audience in a trail of emotion as every note was spot on and genuine.
Following an acoustic rendition of a Stills-Young song “Long May You Run” Stills paid homage to his longtime friend Tom Petty in an acoustic version of “I Won’t Back Down” bringing the entire audience to their feet.
In all, their 18 song set saw two songs from their recent album “Everybody Knows.” The backing band played not behind the two, but together sounding well practiced and leading the show to the next level.
Stephen Stills and Judy Collins continue to amaze fans on the second leg of their North American Tour. In the end, the love they gave was equal to the love they made, and this duo pulled every stop to let the fan once again relive a nostalgic time for music history.
- Handle with Care
- You Don’t have to Cry
- River of Gold
- Virtual World
- Everybody Knows
- Long May You Run
- I Won’t Back Down
- Both Sides, Now
- Southern Cross
- Who Knows Where the Time Goes
- Chelsea Morning
- For What It’s worth
- Suite: Judy Blue Eyes