Iâ€™m a Heart fan from way way back. I lost interest during their big hair MTV mid-80â€™s phase but have recently taken keen interest again in sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson and the band they presently front. Iâ€™m even a fan of their last two albums, Red Velvet Car and the new Fanatic (see my review here).
So it was with some anticipation I went to see Heart in N.J. last week.
Opening with a slightly shaky but still competent read of the title track to their 1980 album Bebe le Strange then into the rockinâ€™ (and title track) of â€œFanatic,â€ it was evident Heart was going to be tight. Debbie Shairâ€™s keyboard began â€œHeartless,â€ a real treat from way back in Heartâ€™s catalog. There was the obligatory read on the big 80â€™s hits; Nancy singing lead and playing mandolin on â€œThese Dreamsâ€ and Â â€œWhat About Loveâ€ but the trio of women alone managed a rendition of â€œAloneâ€ (not a song I like at all) that was pretty great, with Ann Wilson showing off her amazing pipes.
Ann picked-up flute and Nancy acoustic for â€œDreamboat Annieâ€(the title track of their very first album and the oldest song they tackled), Shair led a different arrangement on the ballad â€œDog and Butterflyâ€ (lots of title tracks this night), but for me the highlight was â€œLove Alive,â€ another older tune (from the bandâ€™s second album). Drummer Ben Smith and bassist Dan Rothchild were especially perfect on this one.
The regular set ended with hits â€œCrazy On Youâ€ into â€œBarracudaâ€ Â with the encore duo of â€œMagic Manâ€ (showcasing guitarist Craig Bartockâ€™s blistering control) into Zepâ€™s â€œBlack Dog.â€