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Heart’s Royal Flush Tour Hits It Big in Tampa

| Vicky Sullivan |

The Wilson sisters made Tampa’s Amalie Arena the 3rd stop on the Heart 2024 tour with rockers Cheap Trick in tow for a great night of music! Two iconic bands who have been around for over 50 years and are Rock & Roll Hall of Famers.  Cheap Trick kicked it off with their classic hit “Dream Police” written by guitarist Rick Nielsen.  Safety Harbor resident and lead singer Robin Zander’s pipes are as good as ever. Zander seems ageless at 71, working the stage and playing rhythm guitar.  They rocked & rolled the Fats Domino cover of “Ain’t That A Shame,” from the quintessential album that should be in every rock music collection, “Live at Budokan.” 

Robin Taylor Zander, who has been playing with the band for several years takes over lead vocals on “Downed.” He has certainly inherited his father’s musical genes.  Bassist Tom Petersson takes a solo turn on his 12-string bass, a must-see experience.  Lead singer Zander takes his own solo turn with a snippet of “It All Comes Back to You,” not heard live in a long minute. The tune intro’s the 1988 power ballad “The Flame”, a number one for the band. Trick fans have a love/hate relationship with the song, either they are recording it on their cell phones or taking a bathroom break.  Regardless, it is one of Zander’s best vocal performances.  Drummer Daxx Nielsen keeps the beat going throughout the set.

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Closing out their 45-minute set with an audience sing-along of “I Want You to Want Me” and “Surrender”, which brought out Zander’s daughter Sailor to the stage to join in on background vocals. On “Goodnight” Nielsen brought out his famous 5-neck guitar, always an audience favorite among his many guitars.  You can NEVER go wrong with Cheap Trick, don’t miss them! They will be in Orlando on July 10th with Def Leppard and Journey. Info here Cheap Trick

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Heart opened the show with a video tribute to their 50 years in the music biz with a montage of historical and pop culture happenings over the last 50 years. Delving into a catalog of deep cuts and hits, they opened with 1980’s Bebe Le Strange.  1975’s “Magic Man” had the arena out of their seats.  There are five guitars on stage including Nancy’s, although one doubles as keyboards.  The title track of “Little Queen,” a trippy 1975 rocker.

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Great lighting and psychedelic graphics set the tone of the stage.  “Straight On” and a cover of Bowie’s “Let’s Dance” worked well.  Nancy took to vocals and mandolin on 1985’s “These Dreams”, a huge hit on MTV.  An acoustic living room as Ann put it, brought everyone to stools and the beautiful ballad harmonies of “Dog & Butterfly.” A cover of Zeppelin with “Going to California” had the audience yelling and singing to the classic tune.  Nancy’s tribute and story about Eddie Van Halen is a not-to-miss moment in the show.  Ann’s vocals were on track until “Alone” and she seemed to have trouble in her higher register.  She is doing some sitting due to recent knee surgery and maybe that is affecting her.  At 73, I don’t think we can expect Ann or any of our singers to sound like they did in their 20’s.  She is still one of the best female rock voices ever!

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Of course, everyone was up on their feet waiting for “Barracuda.” and it was rockin’! Coming back for the encore, we got a special request from the band itself to play a great cover of Zepp’s “The Ocean!” They closed with their hit “Crazy On You.”  A fun night with two of our best bands, Heart and Cheap Trick! Don’t miss the tour as it travels the country, dates are at Heart Music

Vicky Sullivan Photos

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