The Heart of Rock 'n’ Roll Is Still Beatin’

The Heart of Rock 'n’ Roll Is Still Beatin’

From Kevin Yeanoplos of 


What a couple of mothers! Ann, Nan and the band came, saw and conquered the Ashley Furniture HomeStore Pavilion as they blew up the stage with a blistering salvo of Heart tunes and Zeppelin runes.

The sizzling Seattle-ites sent the crowd into orbit with a rollicking version of Zep's “Rock and Roll” as they launched the set off. Ann Wilson’s outrageous vocals on the opening rocker jump-started the laid back Phoenix fans and justified every comparison to Robert Plant that’s been written over the last 35 years.

And uh, there were just a few thousand skeptical fans when Wilson sang “It’s been a long time since I rock and rolled.”

But the rock icons really showed the fans where their hearts were by following up with a couple of their own legendary scorchers, “Magic Man” and “Heartless.”

After a fantastic funk-flavored “Straight On,” Nancy Wilson turned a musical Page with her own Zepplinesque offering on “What About Love.” Her signature soaring solo on the song is one of those instantly recognizable riffs that helps you find your way home when you’re lost in the musical wilderness.

It wasn’t the only time that she axed and answered the Heart enthusiasts during the show. Her thunderous licks were the nitro for the guitar fueled “WTF,” from their most recent album, Red Velvet Car. And the familiar machine gun riffs on “Barracuda” sent the crowd scurrying for cover.

Nancy’s intricate acoustic intro to “Crazy On You” was, well, certifiably insane – and even more electrifying than her plugged-in work throughout the set. Mortal singers would have cowered from the tune’s demanding vocals – which is exactly why Ann gave the figurative finger to the high notes and forged ahead, nailing every challenging lyric.

And speaking of high points, there was none better than when the "moms that rock" slowed down and unplugged for a memorable “Alone.” When Ann convincingly pleaded “How do I get you alone?” she managed to persuade every single male in the audience that she was singing just to him.

Notwithstanding her excellent evening-long fretwork, Nancy reminded everyone that Ann isn’t the only talented singer in the family with some honey-sweet vocals on “These Dreams,” featuring her sister’s velvety flute work. After the tune, my 22-year old son “confessed” to me that the “Nancy songs” are nearest to his heart.

While there were certainly fans that were clued-up as to set lists from earlier shows, there was absolutely nothing that could have prepared them for the final twin tunes in the set.

The only word to describe the Wilson sisters’ spin on Led Zeppelin’s “The Battle of Evermore” – is indescribable. But let’s just say this – a mandolin, a six-string, the classy sisters and this classic song are worth anything you have to pay to hear it live. Seriously – just this one song.

As Heart wrapped up the set with a musically brilliant cover of The Who's “Love, Reign O’er Me,” it seemed that one of the ladies still had something left to prove. Apparently there were a few fans that were arguing about the most important instrument in the band’s arsenal.

After Ann destroyed the crowd with her astounding vocals, there was no more arguing.

But at the end of a set that began – and ended with the certainty of monstrous musicality, there was at least one uncertainty remaining. How on earth would Def Leppard ever be able to top the sisters of Heart?

Read the article on the Examiner website here: