Judy Collins, Glee Club, Birmingham - review

By Kirsten Rawlins | Music | Published:

She's been in the music industry for six decades, leading as an icon in both folk and activism - and last night fans in Birmingham were lucky enough to see the legend in the flesh.

Judy Collins

Judy Collins, who turns 80 this year, looked phenomenal as she stepped out on to the stage, dazzling in a black sequinned top and jacket with curly blonde hair as she strummed an acoustic guitar.

Despite her years, the Seattle-born star remained lively and full of wit, charming the audience at every turn with a series of wonderful anecdotes about the many incredible people she has worked with in her career - from Bob Dylan, to Joni Mitchell and Leonard Cohen.

“I'm glad to be here,” beamed Judy.

“Of course, I have to say I'm thrilled to be anywhere these days.

“I've been doing this for 60 years.”

The singer/songwriter opened her intimate city centre show at the Glee Club with Joni Mitchell’s Chelsea Morning, a song Judy performed at President Bill Clinton’s first inauguration in 1993.

Songs which followed in the varied set included folk song Wild Mountain Thyme; a rendition of John Denver’s Take Me Home, Country Roads and Leaving On A Jet Plane; Both Sides Now by Joni Mitchell; Jimmy Webb’s The Highwayman and songs of her own, both old and new.

One of the show’s highlights saw Judy give a wonderful, spine tingling rendition of Bob Dylan’s Mr Tambourine Man. Prior to singing the number, she told fans how she had heard the song being created in the middle of the night while she stayed at a castle in Woodstock - and after hearing the tune, had snuck down the stairs and sat outside Bob’s door as he composed the iconic number.


Judy is an incredibly intriguing character and she seemed to enjoy telling these enchanting tales as much as the fans relished in listening to her.

After impressing on piano, Judy also treated the crowd to a faultless performance of perhaps her most well-known hit Send In The Clowns, plus a superb rendition of Amazing Grace with which the audience sang along.

There were a few songs on which her voice seemed to struggle at times, but the show still remained entertaining and fascinating. It was clear we were in the presence of an icon, and for the most part that was enough.

The disappointing part of the concert was actually entirely out of her control: a few hostile members of the crowd. A bad apple can spoil the bunch and, despite the lovely staff and superb venue, this was sadly the case last night.

A lovely evening nonetheless and a true treat to see living legend Judy Collins in such an intimate environment.

Kirsten Rawlins

By Kirsten Rawlins

Digital Content Manager for the Shropshire Star and Express & Star. Also reviews concerts and events, as well as writing features and celebrity interviews. E-mail me at, or phone 01952 241440.


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