Heart still pumping out that classic rock'n' roll
Saturday, October 27, 2007
Casino Regina Show Lounge
Whoever coined the phrase "classic rock" must have had the epiphany after listening to Heart.
Powered by Ann and Nancy Wilson -- the lone remaining original members of the band -- Heart delivered a scintillating show Thursday to a capacity crowd at the Casino Regina Show Lounge.
Dipping deep into its treasure chest of hits, Heart snatched the crowd's attention early and kept it firmly in its grasp for the 75-minute, 15-song performance.
Blasting out of the starting gate with "Magic Man," "Little Queen" and "Straight On," Heart had the crowd in its clutches from the opening notes.
Whatever the expectations of the fans, it was evident Heart was prepared to deliver the goods.
Time often takes its toll on a singing voice but after more than 30 years in the music business, Ann Wilson still owns a stunning voice. As much as her range and tone are impressive, what sets her apart from the pack is her power. There is no doubt that she is a rock-and-roll singer.
After "Love Alive," Heart delivered a delicious cover of Tom Petty's "You Wreck Me." As Ann so aptly pointed out after the tune, "Nancy really busted out on that one."
Nancy took ownership of the song with sweet vocals and an amped-up guitar that would have left Petty jealous.
Ann returned to the spotlight with a couple of songs from her new solo album Hope & Glory.
"War of Man," a Neil Young cover, and "Isolation," a John Lennon cover, fit perfectly into the set.
By this point, it was obvious that the show was much more than just music for Heart. Ann and Nancy played with passion and fire, and the rest of the band -- guitarist Craig Bartock, bassist Ric Markmann, drummer Ben Smith and keyboardist Debbie Shair -- followed their lead. It's a cliche to say that a band is tight, but Heart was just that.
Nancy broke out her mandolin for "These Dreams" and when the band segued into "Alone," a wonderful ballad from the Bad Animals album, you could've heard a pin drop in the Show Lounge as the audience soaked up every note.
Ann's consummate skills as a frontman were in full display and at times it almost appeared as if she was performing in a trance. She was lost in the music, letting it wash over her. She wasn't merely singing -- the music appeared to be emanating from her soul.
Heart wrapped up the set with "Barracuda" and "Crazy On You," which brought the crowd to its feet. Shouting a quick goodbye to the audience, Ann caught the crowd off guard by leading the band off stage. One hour of music certainly wasn't enough, and after three or four minutes of constant encouragement from the crowd, Heart returned to the stage.
It was only fitting that the band pounded out "Immigrant Song" and "Black Dog," a pair of Led Zeppelin classics, as during Heart's rise to fame in the 1970s Ann was considered the female equivalent to Robert Plant.
The comparison is still valid.
After another quick exodus from the stage, Heart returned to finish the show with "Dreamboat Annie," the first song that the Wilson sisters ever wrote together.
As they left the stage for the third and final time, a wise man suggested to me that "a great band always leaves them wanting more." Under that criteria, Heart is definitely a great band as the crowd was absolutely ready for more. There was no "Heartless" or "Tell It Like It Is" or ""What About Love" or "Never."
There's always next time.