Singer-Songwriter and American legend Judy Collins returned to Newport for two shows this weekend, thrilling her fans Friday, August 19 on her opening night at the Jane Pickens Film and Events Center.

Collins played songs from throughout her 60+ year career, sprinkling in stories and anecdotes about her life and times, her friends and lovers. She was greeted warmly by the sold out audience, many of whom had seen her in the early 1960’s at the Newport Folk Festival. It was a remarkable performance by a singer who is going strong at age 83.

Collins opened with a few of her biggest hits, the Joan Baez cover “Diamonds and Rust” and the Joni Mitchell classic “Both Sides Now,” her biggest charting hit (#8 in 1968). She went on to introduce several beautiful songs from her 2022 release Spellbound, her first album of all original music. They included the title song “Spellbound,” “Girl in Colorado,” and “Prairie Song,” which she dedicated to her late father.

She shined Jimmy Webb’s “Highwayman,” and Leonard Cohen’s “Suzanne,” one of the greatest love songs ever written and a tune she first recorded in 1968. No doubt, she’s familiar with a few good love songs – she was the subject of CSN’s “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes” and the Stephen Stills penned “Helplessly Hoping,” which she performed in concert.

Throughout the show, Collins shared stories behind the music, joking about everything from Bob Dylan to porn stars, and getting the biggest laugh when she described playing a show with Richie Havens and Crosby, Stills, and Nash in 2014 … at an AARP convention.

If you have tickets for Saturday’s show, you are in for a treat. Meanwhile, check out some photos of the show from Lifestyle Editor Ken Abrams below.

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Ken Abrams

Lifestyle Editor Ken Abrams writes about music and more for What'sUpNewp, Providence Monthly, SO RI, and The Bay. He DJ's "The Kingston Coffeehouse" Tuesday nights, 6-9 PM on WRIU 90.3 FM.