Photos and review by Bill Bungard
The reunited Rock & Roll Hall of Famers Heart brought their “Love Alive” tour back to Tacoma three years after sisters Ann and Nancy’s split. The multi-platinum sister team reunited for a summer tour extended into October with more than 50 shows. Heart, for the first time in years, have hit the national spotlight in large arenas including packing the Tacoma Dome for the Sept. 4 show. The lineup was all powerhouse female vocalists starting with Elle King and then Joan Jett, another Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee. For the past three years Ann Wilson has been touring without her sister with the Ann Wilson Thing and Nancy formed the touring band Roadcase Royale.
On Wednesday night, Ann Wilson one of rock’s most distinctive and loved female vocalists, was energized and animated working the stage and even playing the air guitar.
With Hearts’ mixture of rock/heavy metal/folk and power ballads, the band played a setlist comprised of songs that spanned decades going back to the ’70s. Many of the songs had slight artistic rearrangements.
Nancy narrated the historical transitions and songs of the several decades from their 16 albums. “Magic Man” had a 30-second synthesized keyboard solo embedded in the middle of the song. “Love Alive” started out toned down with Ann on the flute and Nancy on the acoustic guitar melding into a full band after the intro. And, yes, a cover of YES’ “Your Move” was served flawlessly with great harmonies with Nancy. A soulful rendition of “Heard it Through the Grapevine” served as a long intro to hit song “Straight On.” With Ann on backing vocals, Nancy delivered a beautiful rendition of Simon & Garfunkel’s “The Boxer.”
“Dog and Butterfly” was like time traveling back to my youth. Other memorable moments: the blasting guitar intro to “What About Love” and Nancy hammering out her timeless and recognizable acoustic guitar riffs for “Crazy on You.” The encore had the fans all standing the sisters performing Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven,” and the heartfelt performance of “Alone” with just Ann and a piano for the intro. The memorable show ended with the rocking “Barracuda.”
Wednesday was all about the music. With simple staging and production, the multi-generational crowd enjoyed a night of music that has spanned memories for more than 40 years.