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Concert Review - Cary, NC

 

Heart returned to the Koka Booth Amphitheater in Cary, North Carolina for the first time since 2009 and rocked the house. Two thirds of the set list consisted of rock songs, many of which were originally recorded in the band's early days, proving that Heart has certainly not mellowed with age. Indeed, Ann's superior vocal range still packs immense power, while Nancy remains one of the best guitar players in the world and is still in fine vocal form herself. In addition, Nancy is somehow still able to do her trademark high leg kick while playing the guitar. All I can say is that the Wilson sisters appear to defy the aging process year after year.

One third of the set list was devoted to new songs featured on Heart's recently released CD, Fanatic, including "59 Crunch," "Dear Old America," "Walkin' Good," the title track and "Mashallah." Despite a great effort from the band, the rather lethargic crowd did not appear to appreciate the new selections, which is too bad. Even Ann's amazing vocals on "Mashallah" did not seem to make a difference. However, when Heart turned to their classic hits, such as "Crazy on You," "Magic Man" and "Barracuda," the audience seemed to be transformed and were very appreciative. Other well known songs, including the funky "Straight On" and the rocking "Heartless" were well received, while a change in arrangement brought new life to "Even it Up" and the ballad "Dog & Butterfly."

Sandwiched in between songs from the early days of the band and their latest release were mega-hits from the 1980's. The highlight of those efforts, as usual, was "Alone," with Ann delivering yet another searing vocal performance, while Nancy assumed lead vocals for "These Dreams" (as well as the aforementioned "Walkin' Good"), the band's first number one hit. Another hit from that era, "What About Love," was also well received. The encore included a cover of "Black Dog" from Led Zeppelin. Anyone familiar with Heart's history understands that they do justice to every Led Zeppelin song they undertake and, in some cases, sound better, as is the case with "The Battle of Evermore," which did not make the set list. Overall, Heart played another great, energetic and musically tight concert that showcased their strengths as artists and performers. Although I was disappointed that my favorite Heart song, "Mistral Wind," did not make the set list, even though it has been played at other venues during the tour. Maybe next year!

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