Cheap Trick, Joan Jett & the Blackhearts and Heart rolled in to Robin Zander’s hometown at the Mid-Florida Amphitheatre on Thursday night. All three bands are Rock & Roll Hall of Famers, having so many hits it is like a 40-0 ball game. Opening the show “The World’s Greatest Rock & Roll Band” and Joe “Aerosmith” Perry’s favorite band, Cheap Trick got the party started with their 12 song set that included “When I Wake Up Tomorrow” from their new album “Bang, Zoom, Crazy, Hello” a stellar offering from these masters. Zander’s vocal abilities are amazing.
Rick Nielsen was in fine form on his ever-changing entertaining collection of guitars. Daxx Nielsen banging the drums and Tom Petersson, bass player extraordinaire, they know exactly who they are. “The Flame” their number one power ballad hit was a crowd favorite along with “Ain’t It a Shame”, “Dream Police” and “I Want You To Want Me”! For extra added fun, joining Cheap Trick on stage for the encore was Sarasota born Bello Nock, famous clown and daredevil! Closing out their set Robin Zander lead the crowd in the Trick anthem “Gonna Raise Hell”! Inducted into the Rock Hall this year, Trick is simply the best!
Up next the First Lady of Rock & Roll, Joan Jett and her Blackhearts opened with “Victim of Circumstance”, followed by Runaways cover “Cherry Bomb”. Jett was an original founding member of the Runaways along with rocker Lita Ford in 1976. Between tunes, a birthday cake was brought out to Joan by the entire tour and Zander along with the Wilson sisters sang “Happy Birthday to Joan”! It was a great moment and Jett was clearly moved and said “I’m gonna cry now get the F off the stage!” Joan’s 14 song setlist included “Do You Wanna Touch Me”, “Bad Reputation”, “I Love Rock & Roll”, closing out with her hit “I Hate Myself for Loving You”. Joan’s latest album “Unvarnished” has a catchy tune called “TMI”, check it out! Jett was inducted into the Rock Hall in 2015!
Ann and Nancy Wilson known as “Heart” brought their brand of rock kicking it off with a triple play of “Wild Child”, “Magic Man” and “What About Love”! Nancy Wilson was working the stage and her guitar with precision. Ann Wilson looks svelte and has one of the greatest voices in any genre but we are lucky enough to have her in rock and roll! Heart has had 20 Top 40 singles and we got to hear a few including, “These Dreams”, “Alone”, “Crazy on You” and 1977’s classic hit “Barracuda”. A brand new album released in July called “Beautiful Broken”, the title track is a hard rock story of a beautiful broken woman. The Wilson sisters know how to do Zeppelin better than just about anyone. They played the tribute to Plant and Company at the Kennedy Center Honors as well as touring with Jason Bonham. Their encore was Zep’s best with the “Immigrant Song” and “Stairway to Heaven”. Rock trivia buffs take note both Robert Plant and Ann Wilson were named the best female and male rock singers by Circus Magazine in 1979! Chris Cornell inducted Heart into the Hall in 2013!
photos by Vicky Sullivan / Rock The Lens Photography