When I first told people I was going to see Heart’s Rockin’ Heaven Tour there were mixed reactions. Some told me that they were “better than ever”, others said “I think I know one of their songs”. Well after 40 years of writing and performing music together I can safely say most people know more than one song. Heart is an iconic rock band that has been spanning four decades with songs that appeal to a wide audience, young and old.
The night started with a candlelit stage as the backdrop for the entrance of Nancy Wilson and her fellow band members Ben Smith, Craig Bartock, Debbie Shair, and Dan Rothchild. Nancy’s guitar went right through me with the opening riff for Barracuda. As Ann Wilson hit the stage and started to belt out the lyrics I realized her vocals are as powerful as ever. During the song Heartless the band got quiet; you could hear the power in Ann’s voice resonate amongst the sold out crowd.
I have been to quite a few concerts featuring legendary groups in the past, and have been quite a few times disappointed. Not the case with Heart. Some songs were better than their original recordings. Years of experience helped them fine tune their harmonies and showmanship. Ann’s ability to be able to pull everyone in with her commanding vocals and then move back on the stage to allow the focus to be directed towards either Craig or Nancy as they performed their guitar solos was phenomenal.
When it came time for their rendition of Let Me Roll It, by Paul McCartney & Wings, Nancy said “singing a song standing next to you know who is a brave thing”. She nailed it. She can definitely hold her own. Her wide range of vocals was evident during that song.
You could tell the band still enjoys what they do. That was obvious while watching Nancy do a jump kick to start off Crazy On You. The entire group appeared to be having a blast. This could also be because after 40 years they are doing what they want musically. “Suits say that it isn’t what is on the radio” said Ann, “Okay, we’ll go play it for the people”. That is exactly what they did and the people loved it.
There were quite a few occasions during the night when I could almost see the goosebumps rising on the arms of fans. There were some tears flowing around me and there was a beautiful moment while they played These Dreams that two couples started to slow dance in the first few rows of the floor seats. “Alone” was so moving with just the acoustic guitar and keyboard that it brought everyone to a standing ovation.
All of this and Jason Bonham, the drummer from the Led Zeppelin Experience, had not even hit the stage yet for a Led Zeppelin set with Heart. After a 20 minute intermission everyone returned for the first cover Battle of Evermore. Jason’s very animated personality on stage got the audience going. Everyone on the floor was on their feet and stayed there for the rest of the night. With Jason and Ben playing the drums together it added to the intensity of the music. One of the highlights for me was their rendition of Kashmir. I was left speechless along with the audience who gave them their second standing ovation of the night. The third and final standing ovation was after the final song, Stairway to Heaven. The Total Experience Choir from Seattle joined in with Heart and Jason Bonham for this amazing performace. The energy on stage and in the arena was truly electric.
After seeing Heart perform a show of their own music that was deserving of immense respect and admiration, they impressed me even more by playing a set of Led Zeppelin covers that unquestionably did the originals justice. I am a bigger Heart fan now than ever and agree with those that said they are “better than ever”.
– April Reidie