Time Is On Their Side

Stephen Stills and Judy Collins: Together Again Tour 
Stars: Stephen Stills and Judy Collins
Kenny White (opening act)

Russell Walden (piano), Zev Katz (bass), and Tony Beard (drums)
Yardley Hall, Carlsen Center, Johnson County Community College, Overland Park, Kansas
Sunday, July 30, 2017 

Who would have thought that after 50 years of love and friendship, Stephen Stills and Judy Collins would be composing and touring and getting ready to release an album. Well, it is happening. The tour began in Chicago in July, then to Kansas, and on to touring the U.S.A. for months, ending in Chicago again for the release of their album, “Stills & Collins.” And this reviewer? Got to see them in Kansas, and the rafters are just now settling back. Both wore black, and Judy had a black duster that sparkled with a few rhinestones emphasizing her mane of white hair. The stage seems like a second home to them. 

The opening act of 30 minutes was piano player/song writer Kenny White, whose style is akin to Randy Newman. He calls himself a “wordsmith."  White, with a sense of humor, said he promoted himself in his earlier days by saying he played in Manhattan...but it was Manhattan, Kansas. Yardley Hall’s new Steinway Concert Grand got a workout. White’s new album is “Long List Of Priors” that includes David Crosby. 

Then, on to Judy Collins and Stephen Stills, who met in 1967 and dated for two years. The result was Stills’ song “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes” which ranks Number 418 in Rolling Stone’s Poll  “500 Greatest Songs Of All Time.”  Stephen Stills worked with Buffalo Springfield, Crosby, Stills & Nash and solo performances. On this tour, he was handed a different guitar for most of their selections. There must have been an extra truck in the parking lot for his instruments. 

Judy Collins signature is her crystal clear soprano voice and she is known for her renditions of “Send In The Clowns” and “Amazing Grace.”  Judy, also, plays the guitar, though with her petite figure, her guitar seemed the size of a cello.  When the group got going, with their side men, it was quite a performance. Concerning her relationship with Stephen Stills, Judy performed “Houses,” which was on her 1975 album, “Judith." 

The play list included old favorites such as “Who Knows Where The Time Goes,” from Collins 1968 album of that name. Right after recording it in 1968, the group did another tape and this tape was lost for 40 years. Unexpectedly found, it is now called the “Just Roll Tape” and will be on their upcoming album.  Judy Collins was one of the first musicians to tout the late Leonard Cohen and recorded his “Suzanne,“ which was elegantly performed. There was Bob Dylan’s “Girl From The North Country,” that brought out a true incident from Stills. It seems as though, years ago, his manager booked him on a tour in northern Minnesota in February. “You know you are almost at the end of your career, when your manager books you in northern Minnesota and then to go further north into Winnipeg. That’s the end of the world.” 

As Collins said at the end of their performance, and after a few standing ovations, “I'm thrilled to be here, in fact, I'm thrilled to be just about anywhere.” Judy....you have just begun. Time is on your side. 

Copyright 2017 Marie Asner