Grammy award winning artist Judy Collins made her way to the Riviera Theater this past Sunday for an afternoon matinee. This show was postponed due to the Blizzard that hit the WNY area over Christmas 2022. Collins is on tour to promote her latest effort ‘Spellbound’ that came out in February of 2022. In fact, this effort garnered her 2nd career Grammy nomination. She was accompanied by Thad DeBrock on guitar and steel pedal and Russell Walden on piano.
Collins took the stage at 4:00pm and seemed in great spirits. She opened up with a classic track off of the 1975 album ‘Judith.’ Before the next track, Collins talked about her 50 year plus friendship with fellow folk singer Joan Baez. She then proceeded to do a fantastic rendition of “Diamonds and Rust.” Telling stories before she went into a song was the premise of the entire set. She also talked about that 83 (her current age) is the new 25 before going into the song “When I Was a Girl in Colorado.” Many didn’t know but Collins only recorded covers for her 1st five studio albums. She started tackling writing in 1966. She then proceeded to play “Hell on Wheels’ which is off of ‘Spellbound.’ The song matches up to anything she has done in the past. She then talked about knowing John Deutschendorf and took him out as an opening act in the mid to late 1960’s. He went on vacation with her and her family in Colorado and then he proceeded to change his name to John Denver. She honored him by doing a medley of both “Leaving on a Jet Plane” and “Country Road.” Collins was first introduced to music by playing the piano and becoming a concert pianist. She took over for Walden and played “Spellbound” and “The Blizzard.” She ended the set singing “Send in the Clowns” acapella.
What it should be noted and most importantly Collins’ voice is still angelic and beautiful. This is the first time I have seen her live, but I must say I was pleasantly surprised by her voice. She was funny and her song selection was a good mix of originals and covers. The only negative I would point out is that due to the show she had the previous night, she was tired. She wasn’t able to do the 2 songs for her encore “Someday Soon” and “Amazing Grace.” Besides this, it was still a fantastic show by the 83 years young Collins!
Born to the Breed
Diamonds & Rust (Joan Baez cover)
Both Sides, Now (Joni Mitchell cover)
When I Was a Girl in Colorado
Hell on Wheels
Leaving on a Jet Plane/ Country Road (John Denver cover)
Masters of War (Bob Dylan cover)
Mr. Tambourine Man (Bob Dylan cover)
Suzanne (Leonard Cohen cover)
Send in the Clowns (Stephen Sondheim cover)
We would like to thank Dave Fillenwarth form The Riviera Theater for the credentials to review the show.