Sunday, November 16, 2014

CONCERT REVIEW: Heart - 11.12.14 (Guest Post)

Maxwell C. King Center
Melbourne, FL / 11.12.14

Guest writer Michelle Wilson 
and I rarely see eye to eye 
when it comes to rock and 
roll. Michelle has a passion 
for whiskey-soaked, down 
and dirty blues, while I 
live for crunchy, guitar-
driven, pop. But there is 
ONE thing on which we 
do agree. We're completely 
nuts about Heart.

Many bands from the 1970s are still out there rockin’ and bringin’ the house down, while others, not so much. Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart, the rock chick sisters born in California and raised in Seattle, definitely fall into the first category. I had never seen Heart in concert, and I wasn’t sure what to expect from Ann’s voice live. But not only are her vocals still pristine, they are better than ever. And I would be remiss not to mention Nancy, who still looks years younger than her 60, yes I said 60, years old, and still plays like a bad-ass and sings like an angel. What I found most remarkable about the Wilson sisters, and particularly Ann, is their comfortable, easy stage pres-ence. From my third row seat, I could readily observe the way in which Ann looked directly at people and genuinely enjoyed it, even after all these years. It’s hard to explain, but it’s not often that I’ve seen an entertainer engage in this manner. It felt as if we were all her bffs and just hanging out in her living room listening to her sing.

Opening the show at 8pm and playing an incredible 30-minute set was Nashville-based up-and-coming singer Brynn Marie. Keep your eye on this one and remember her name, because her star is rising fast. There was nothing about her that I didn’t love   gorgeous, talented and genuine, she is the real deal. Accompanied by Josh Roberts on acoustic guitar and backing vocals, it was a pleasure to hear and watch this young woman whose on-stage presence and off-the-chain vocals were that of a seasoned pro. She has traveled overseas to dazzle American troops and has a single out entitled “Bandaid on a Bullet Hole” off her 6-track collection, Things Change. It is always re- freshing when a little-known opening act starts a show in stellar fashion, and that is just what Brynn Marie did.


Taking the stage at 8:50, Heart launched directly into “Barracuda” and kicked off their portion of the night with a high-energy, action-packed per- formance that had the crowd on its feet for much of the evening. Fans even stood up against the stage, a rare exception for the generally strict King Center. Rounding out the rest of the band are lead guitarist Craig Bartock, bassist Dan Rothchild, drummer Ben Smith and Debbie Shair on keys. Hit upon hit had the audience loving every moment, including “Heartless,” “What About Love,” “Magic Man,” “Even It Up,” “Kick It Out,” “Straight On” and “Crazy on You.” Other aural treats included “Dreamboat Annie,” with Nancy on acoustic guitar and Ann on flute, a lovely, slower acoustic version of “Alone,” “These Dreams” featuring Nancy on mandolin and Ann on acoustic guitar and “Heaven,” with Ann on autoharp / dulcimer and Nancy sitting and playing acoustic guitar with a bow. The other real gems (as if everything wasn’t a gem) were covers of Robin Trower’s “Day of the Eagle” from 1974’s Bridge of Sighs and Paul McCartney’s “Let Me Roll It” from 1973’s iconic Band on the Run. The McCartney cover featured Nancy on guitar and vocals, and was an unexpected yet thrilling addition. 

As is their signature encore set these days, the band returned to the stage to wrap things up by 10:30 with three Led Zeppelin covers: "Immigrant Song" off 1970's Led Zeppelin III, "No Quarter" from 1973's Houses of the Holy and finally "Misty Mountain Hop," which appears on 1971's Led Zeppelin IV. Being a huge Zep fan myself, I had moved up and was plastered to the front of the stage, singin' along and lovin' every minute of it. I did think that "No Quarter" was an oddly mellow song choice, however, they absolutely slayed it. I walked out of this show filled with the euphoria of a music lover who had just experienced one of the greatest concerts ever. My only regret is that I had never seen them sooner. My friend Mark Miller mentioned that his 27-year-old niece recently had seen Heart, and he nailed the core of this band with these few words: "their sound transcends ages." Indeed it does, Mark.

-Michelle Wilson
(November 2014)

Do you have something to say, something to get off your chest or an amazing story to share? From pop culture views and reviews to political commentary to messages of faith, my blog is a great platform for writers to showcase their work. There are very limited criteria for submitting a post. Your views don't even have to be in line with mine—just create and contribute a compelling, well-written story. Interested? Send me and email.


1 comment:

  1. I was at this show. 7th time I'd seen Heart, and they never fail to blow me away.