As summer comes to a close, what better way to say goodbye to it with an outdoor Heart concert? Heart is a Pacific Northwest treasure and they are so loved in this part of the country. Personally, I have been a fan for years. I first saw them in the mid 80s and they blew me away. Vocalist, Ann Wilson was and is simply one of the best singers out there. No one sounds like her or comes close. Her sister Nancy is strong on guitar and this lady is simply fun stuff. Nancy has an acoustic and electric sound all her own. These sisters through various incarnations of the group have made some really great music. It was great to have them back on the concert stage in support of their most current cd, Fanatic. The band came out to a strong crowd welcome and got the show on a rocking start with their classic Barracuda. Their set was packed with hits from throughout their music career with 70s classic songs like Magic Man, Crazy on You and playing 80s hits like Alone and These Dreams. The band threw in a cool cover of Paul McCartney & Wing’s Let Me Roll It, played the cool unreleased song, Heaven and did a three encore of Led Zeppelin songs closing their show with Misty Mountain Hop. It was a fun show, but I am a Heart hard core. This band has so many great albums so it’s hard to play everything. After the Heartbreaker tour, the Zep songs could have been dropped. How do you follow their version of Stairway to Heaven after the last tour? Last night’s encore could have gave us songs like Love Alive, which is a Stairway in their own and one of their best songs. I personally have seen Ann and Nancy play acoustic, electric, and solo, in other bands so I have some deep cuts favorites I really miss and am one hard to really satisfy I guess. I loved when they brought back songs like City’s Burning for example. There are lesser known albums like Jupiter’s Darlings I would love to hear in its entirety. Honestly, I remember when Cheap Trick would do album nights and play an album completely on that specific night. Can you imagine? I would go to every album show. I still enjoyed their show at Edgefield so take me wrong, but all the Heartmongers would understand me. Speaking of Edgefield, a few things were odd to me last night. This is a venue that sells out regularly and is a great outdoor venue in our area. However, last night seemed really dark stage lights wise. The Wilson sisters deserve that spotlight, but a lot of the times the light simply did not shine bright enough on them. I pushed what camera shots I got just to see them. “Pro” cameras were not allowed as well as no video like usual even though cell phones with HD recording capabilities recorded stuff all night. The photo thing is an old annoyance of mine and the restrictions should stop as long as things like no flash are respected to not interfere with the show. Anyway, the other thing about Edgefield was the backdrop behind the band. At times, you could clearly see cars driving behind the band on the road, which was an odd distraction. The sound was good though, but the stage creates a certain mood and feel so they need to improve on their stage show. A band like Heart deserves so much better that that. Go see Heart play at Seattle’s EMP for example as I have numerous times if you want to take in that visual experience as well. For us much fans pay these days to see a show, it should be an unforgettable experience. With that said too, take away the reserved seats. They kill the energy and let the general admission crowd of hardcore fans free. The connection a band has with its audience is crucial to its performance. Ann at one point even did that every thing telling fans to come up and that helped fuel a powerful version of Crazy on You. Overall, Heart still sounds strong as ever, delivers a great concert and will be missed until their next sold out show.
Kudos to opener Brynn Marie too. She opened the show and put on a great stripped down acoustic set for the fans. Her voice was strong, she seemed really genuine and for those like me who went down and saw her at the merchandise booth after the show, she was a really sweet lady. There are great musicians like this waiting to be found so get to that show on time or you will miss out. Thanks for coming Brynn, thought you were great and love the cd. Please come back soon.