The historic Capitol Theatre in Clearwater was originally known as the Royalty Theatre when it was built in 1921. Rock royalty came on Saturday night in the form of one of the rock’s greatest voices, Ann Wilson. It was incredible be one of the 750 who got to experience this intimate show.
Ann’s band Heart with her sister Nancy, started in 1975 and hit the big time in Canada before becoming a worldwide success. Ann’s powerhouse vocals instantly recognizable with 70’s hits like “Barracuda”, “Magic Man” and “Dog and Butterfly”. Then came the 80’s, MTV videos and another string of hits, “Never”, “What About Love” and “These Dreams”. Heart was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2013.
Ann started a project in 2015 called “The Ann Wilson Thing” with release of an EP and a small tour of shows in-between Heart playing arenas. Now with Heart being on hiatus, Ann has picked up the solo project with a second EP and more tour dates. Don’t come to this show expecting a Heart concert, not that Ann doesn’t give the fans some Heart, she does in fresh, new arrangments. “Barracuda” and “Crazy on You” were in the opening set.
The setlist is an eclectic mix of rock, standards, Who and Yes covers, along with some Hendrix and Elvis! I can think of no other rock singer male or female, who could pull this off but then we are talking about Ann Willson who flawlessly sang “Stairway to Heaven” at the Kennedy Center Honors to Led Zeppelin. At 66, her voice has such range and power in rock songs and then can be soft and hauntingly beautiful in an old 20’s standard. Her four piece band are musicians who are proficient in backing this greatest of instruments.
If Safety Harbor resident Cheap Trick rocker Robin Zander had been in town, he and Ann could have performed their 1988 hit duet from the film “Tequila Sunrise” the power ballad “Surrender to Me”. Maybe next time….
For everything about Ann go to www.annwilsonofheart.com or her Facebook page @officialAnnWilson.
photos by Vicky Sullivan / Rock The Lens Photography