COSTA MESA — Country singer Wynonna Judd's June 27 appearance highlights a late-blooming outdoor concert season at the Pacific Amphitheatre that will also feature the leading lady of contemporary folk and some of the leading men of the blues.
Among the 14 bookings announced by amphitheater officials, with more dates to be announced, are Tracy Chapman, whose 1988 debut album helped fuel a commercial comeback for folk-based pop, and Natalie Cole, whose "Unforgettable" album was a big hit on Grammy night. Santana, B.B. King, Buddy Guy, the Fabulous Thunderbirds and Dr. John will play at the Pacific's third annual blues festival on Aug. 16.
The 18,700-capacity concert bowl's late start is a matter of prime concert attractions scheduling their West Coast tours in the summer and fall rather than the spring, according to Alex Hodges, vice president of Nederlander Concerts, which books the Pacific. Hodges said he expects at least one additional show to be penciled in before the Judd concert.
The season also has been slow to take shape at Irvine Meadows, the Pacific's Orange County rival for major pop attractions. The 15,000-capacity Irvine Meadows has held three shows, but has no other concerts scheduled until June.
Other shows announced for the Pacific are:
* Paula Abdul with Color Me Badd, June 28.
* James Taylor, July 1.
* Disney "Symphonic Fantasy," July 2.
* Steve Miller Band, July 5.
* Allman Brothers Band, July 17.
* Chicago, July 25.
* Crosby Stills & Nash, Aug. 7.
* Alan Jackson, Sept. 4.
* Clint Black, Aaron Tippin and Little Texas, Sept. 19.
* George Strait on an October date to be announced.
Tickets are on sale on a subscription basis in which buyers must order tickets to three or more of the announced concerts. Subscribers will get a chance to buy seats ahead of the rest of the public to concerts yet to be announced. The phone purchase numbers are (714) 740-2000 and (213) 480-3232.
"First Choice" seats also can be ordered by mail: P.O. Box 986, Los Angeles, Calif. 90028. The on-sale dates for individual shows will be announced, except for the Abdul show, which is already on sale.
Before the outdoor season is over, Hodges said, he expects the Pacific to host 30 to 40 concerts, with more dates to be announced as acts are booked.
Bookings announced so far at Irvine are:
* Rush and Mr. Big, June 3-4.
* Reggae Sunsplash, June 6.
* Hank Williams Jr., June 19.
* Gipsy Kings, July 7.