Concert review: Heart, Sheryl Crow lead femmes-first throwback at Bell Centre (Montreal Gazette)

Heart took the stage in Montreal to the ’80s jam Rockin’ Heaven Down, with Nancy delivering the riffs and singing backup while Ann let ‘er rip on lead vocals.

Nancy’s righteous guitar intro on Magic Man, next, brought cheers as Ann took over for the song’s soaring melody, followed by the classic hook: “Just try to understand / try, try, try…”

The crowd roared approval, and they were off.

“Looking out, I’m remembering the night in 1976 when a little unknown band from Vancouver, B.C., got the call to step in and save the day by opening up a show for Rod Stewart in this place,” Ann said, confusing the Bell Centre and the Montreal Forum.

“That was the moment we got our lucky break. We got to come here and play in the beautiful city of Montreal. I’ll never forget that moment.”

That led into the ’70s expanse of Keep Your Love Alive, followed by a hefty cover of Heard It Through the Grapevine.

“We’re going to do some songs from the different ages of Heart,” said Nancy, after, “songs we grew up loving, that made us who we are. This is one of those songs.”

It was Simon & Garfunkel’s fluttering ditty The Boxer.

The point was clearly to show the vast range of influences that helped hone the Wilson sisters’ distinctive sound.

An appropriately trippy version of Pink Floyd’s Comfortably Numb came next, prompting a few fans to raise their cellphone lights; and an acoustic rendition of Led Zeppelin’s TheBattle of Evermore arrived in the encore.

In between were other songs demonstrating the pair’s depth and breadth, including ’80s singalong hymns These Dreams and What About Love, the folk-tinged Dog & Butterfly, and searing main-set closer Crazy On You.

Power-ballad Alone and the crowd-rousing Barracuda capped off the night, confirmed what was already plainly obvious: any way you cut it, Heart still rocks. Hard.