Heart is back and they have brought some of their female musician friends along for the ride! For the Tampa show, the opening act was Elle King and Rock & Roll Hall of Famer and rock pioneer Joan Jett with her Blackhearts.
Sheryl Crow just finished a stint with the tour and next week red hot singer/songwriter Brandi Carlile is joining in! The girls are running the show!
Opening act, Elle King, has been making a name for herself since her 2015 debut album, “Love Stuff”; a musical force who slides between blues, rock and country. She opened her set with the rockin’, “Baby Outlaw”. Switching between guitar, banjo and a Flying V, King leads her band “The Brethren” with a gritty style. A surprise cover of the Tom Petty/ Stevie Nicks classic “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” had the crowd up and was a great rendition of the tune! She performed her top ten hit, “Ex’s & Oh’s”. Elle is a great young talent who you will hear more about in the future to come.
Next up, the Queen of Rock and female rock icon Joan Jett! An original punk rocker, Jett has paved the way for female musicians to rock as frontwomen. Starting out at 15 with the groundbreaking punk band “The Runaways” with fellow rocker Lita (Kiss Me Deadly) Ford, she played two covers of The Runaways, “Cherry Bomb” and “You Drive Me Wild”. At 60, Joan is rockin’ as hard as ever. She recently appeared at the CMA festival with fan and country singer Carrie Underwood, who was in awe to sing with her!
The crowd at the Amp were showing mad respect during “Bad Reputation” and the rock anthem “I Love Rock & Roll”! Playing “Light of Day”, a Springsteen written song, Joan reminded us during the intro that it was for the soundtrack of her 1987 movie of the same name with Michael J. Fox . “I Hate Myself For Loving You” was a huge sing-along that pulled people out of their seats to agree with Joan about bad romance! She closed with a cover of the Sly Stone hit, “Everyday People”! Joan Jett is a rock legend!
The Wilson sisters took to the beautifully designed stage opening with the “Rockin’ Heaven Down” and “Magic Man”. There is so much you can say about Ann Wilson’s incredible vocal ability but, bottom line, she is one of the greatest singers of our time or anytime. The 69-year-old chanteuse is still at the top of her musical game. On “Love Alive” Ann also played flute. Sister Nancy certainly takes no backseat to talent with her guitar work, harmony and lead vocals; they are an unstoppable combo. Their band is world-class. There were several covers on the setlist, favorites of the sisters. The first of which was the Yes hit “Your Move”. Beautifully woven harmonies with Nancy on mandolin. Motown classic “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” with Heart’s “Straight On” was another surprise. Paying tribute to Paul Simon with Nancy on acoustic guitar, they took on “The Boxer”, a song they grew up singing. It is a rare treat to hear the sister’s voices organically.
The hits of “These Dreams”, “Dog & Butterfly”, “Little Queen” were all played to perfection, but “Mistral Wind” was simply an amazing 8 minutes of beauty! Anybody that was sitting down wasn’t any longer with the first notes of “Crazy on You”! Returning to the stage for the encore, they honored their amazing performance for Led Zeppelin at the Kennedy Center with the majestic “Stairway to Heaven”. Only Ann Wilson can sing “Stairway” as the female equal to Robert Plant. 1987’s “Alone” was an audience participation song at high volumes by the crowd! Closing out the show was one of the best rock songs of all time – “Barracuda”. Heart is one of the best live bands in the land! Heart is back better than ever!
Photos by Vicky Sullivan / The Sarasota Post