They say absence makes the heart grow fonder. In the case of the band Heart – led by the incomparable duo of sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson – a three-year hiatus that began in 2016 proved to make the group stronger, more imaginative and infectiously joyful as proven by a July 11 performance at the Hollywood Casino Amphitheater in Tinley Park.
“Thank you. Welcome. It’s really good to see you,” said Ann Wilson after adding flute flourishes to “Love Alive” early on in Heart’s set. “We’re very happy to be back; refreshed, renewed, revitalized.”
A revitalized Heart wasted no time dropping fan favorites “Rockin’ Heaven Down” and “Magic Man,” the latter of which highlighted Nancy Wilson’s sultry syncopated strums. Soon, “Straight On” represented the first Dog & Butterfly song of the night – the album’s title track and “Mistral Wind” also made welcome appearances during the performance – providing each Wilson sister with a platform to showcase their distinct styles and the many ways they effortlessly bob and weave together. Nancy’s flower child energy, shrouded in a mysterious aura, juxtaposed Ann’s unflinching command of center stage, a sly smile fixed on her face each time she stepped towards the microphone.
Heart reflected on their career and influences throughout the concert sharing a variety of covers including “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” and “Your Move.”
“We like to sing every kind of song,” said Nancy, joking that their affinity for all genres can either be viewed as “versatile or schizophrenic.” She then delicately plucked her acoustic guitar introducing a heartfelt rendition of Simon & Garfunkel’s “The Boxer.” Nancy later returned to the spotlight singing the mid-eighties darling, “These Dreams.”
One of the most chill-inducing musical moments came during a cover of Pink Floyd’s “Comfortably Numb.” The Wilson sisters transcended earthly expectations with their gorgeous howls during the chorus as guitarist Ryan Waters wowed the crowd as a Roger Waters/David Gilmour hybrid delivering each haunting verse before annihilating the tune with a masterful Prince-esque solo.
“Crazy On You” and “Back to Avalon” further added to the engaging pre-encore setlist.
The sisters Wilson invited a few talented friends to join them on this leg of the tour including bluesy Brit Lucie Silvas and bonafide hit-maker Sheryl Crow. “A Change Would Do You Good,” “All I Wanna Do” and “My Favorite Mistake” all delighted fans at the top of Crow’s crowd-pleasing set.
The double bill of Heart and Crow created a community driven by a devotion to women who rock. By packing the Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre with fans eager to sing along with the melodies that have been the soundtracks to their lives for decades, these artists once again proved the unmatched power of a timeless song.
Heart will continue to tour across North America throughout October with Crow set to appear on select dates through July. More information about upcoming performances can be found at Heart-music.com.