Eric Savoie / BackStage360
I walked into the Comcast Center a minor Heart fan. It’s hard to deny the power of the songs that have become ingrained in the collective subconscious over the last thirty-plus years. But I have to admit that even though I knew the songs and the level of talent in this band, I was still just a minor fan. The show I witnessed last night has converted me to a life-long fanatic.
It’s hard to imagine a better way to start a show (in any band) than with Nancy Wilson’s chugging intro to “Barracuda.” Illuminated by a single spotlight, Nancy and her Gibson SG set the tone for an evening of hard-rockin’ virtuosity. When the band kicked in the crowd was assured that Rock and Roll is still alive and kickin’ with bass drums that punch you in the chest and from Ann Wilson’s first note everyone knew we were in the presence of Rock Royalty.
“Heartless” was a breath of 70s riff-oriented fresh air with a back to their roots groove that had the crowd bouncing and singing along. They moved on to their big 80s hit “What About Love” and then into the amazing and enduring “Magic Man.” The converting factor for me was a song I’d never heard before. “Mistral Wind” begins with a simple acoustic riff and beautiful soft-spoken vocals and moves into a very early 70s heavy metal riff that is reminiscent of Black Sabbath. Powerful and haunting, this song was the highlight of the night when the band kicked in and Ann switched from seductive siren to full-blown rock-star mode, screaming and wailing.
“Even it Up” was preceded by and introduction of the band in which Nancy introduced her sister as a “force of nature come from the sky bearing gifts,” the gift being her powerful mesmerizing voice that the crowd was more than happy to accept. At the insistence of a random fan in a letter received prior to the show the girls then performed masterfully their beautiful acoustic ballad “Dog and Butterfly.” Ann stated that they hadn’t performed that one in a long time and you have to wonder…. Why not? It’s a wonderfully crafted song that captures the audience and really shows off their amazing talent.
Unbelievably we were then gifted with Nancy’s solo version of Elton John’s “I Need You to Turn to” that shows there is more than one talented singer in the Wilson family. This was followed immediately by “These Dreams” in which lead singer Ann devotedly backs up Nancy with brilliantly crafted back up vocals. “Alone” took us all back to Junior High dances and Ann’s voice was compelling with its power and depth. “Dear old America” is a new song off their latest album that bolsters patriotism and ended with Nancy saluting the crowd. “Crazy on You” had Nancy “bluesing” up the intro and reminded us once again why these girls are royalty and left the crowd wanting more. We wouldn’t be disappointed….
After a very brief intermission the girls returned to the stage with Jason Bonham and his band The Led Zeppelin Experience where they proceeded to rock the rest of the night away with some very convincing Zeppelin covers. When Ann and Nancy performed “Battle of Evermore” acoustically they did what Robert Plant can never do alone. Feeding off of each other, the twin voices melted and then set our hearts on fire with this astounding cover of an already great song. When Jason Bonham pounded out the first notes to “The Song Remains the Same” it was as if his father was back on the kit. Killer versions of “The Rain Song” and “The Ocean” followed. “Kashmir” felt like a finale that could never be followed by any song but then they did. “Stairway to Heaven” complete with a full choir was moving and satisfying all the way to the end.
Always a fan but now a full convert, I will never miss another Heart show. These girls embody all that is alluring about Rock and Roll. Their talent and charisma are undeniable and enduring. Long live the Queens of Rock and Roll!