Heart @ The Fox Theatre, Visalia CA 11/17/15

I took my mom to see the legendary Heart. She’d always wanted to see this group and I always had an admiration for some of those 70’s and 80’s classics. Our minds were blown for several reasons. Firstly, that such a group would even perform in what many consider to be a tiny, sleepy little town nestled in between Fresno and Bakersfield (or nestled between LA and San Francisco – if you’ve never even heard of Fresno or Bakersfield), secondly, that Ann Wilson’s still got it. Her range, her power, her passion, WOW. And she’s 65 years old. I can’t get over that. And lastly, that she nailed that F# during “Alone.” She leaned back, planted herself firmly, clenched that mic and belted it out. You could feel it. That moment seriously made me sweat and made the audience lose their minds.

This set was a great introduction to the group. It wasn’t the longest concert, but it was a tasty sampling, rather than a full-course meal. Most of the signature songs were performed and they sounded great. Age hasn’t slowed these gals. And now I believe the short set helps to preserve Ann’s voice. She’s in her mid 60’s and it’s a hell of thing to sing those kinds of vocal parts in your prime. Now imagine doing that in your 60’s!!! Ann did an amazing job. After the first few numbers, Ann welcomed the Visalia crowd and said “you have a sweet, lovely little theatre, our favorite!” Nancy Wilson is seriously the group’s secret weapon. While Ann is the powerhouse vocalist, Nancy is the sweet crooner that can hold her own with lead vocals on “These Dreams” and “There’s the Girl.” She’s barely entered her 60’s and she still looks and sounds great. She even bunny hopped and did some kicks during the more rockin’ selections. Long time band members Craig Bartock and Ben Smith are performing on this tour on guitar and drums respectively. Rounding out the touring line-up is keyboard player Chris Joyner and bassist Dan Rothchild.

For this tour, social media was abundant with bitching from fans who complained about the show length and about the overuse of cover songs. The set, admittedly, is heavy with cover songs. The average set length is around 16 songs. Five to 6 of those tracks are covers, with the encore itself comprising of 3 Led Zeppelin songs. I didn’t mind that at all, being a Led Zeppelin fan (and seriously, anyone who can pull off Robert Plant’s wail in “Immigrant Song” get’s an immediate “we’re not worthy” bow). This night also saw a gorgeous Ne-Yo cover, “Two,” which fit in perfectly with the set. It delicately flowed from “There’s the Girl” to “These Dreams.” I would seriously buy that track. Nancy also sang a Bacharach/Costello cover mid-set while a Sonic’s song, “The Witch,” was performed near the end of the show. My mom and I were first timers to live Heart. We were giddy that we didn’t have to travel three hours to see them in concert. And we didn’t have any previous experiences so we couldn’t draw comparisons. I can see how repeat customers would have a problem with the set and cover songs. But I appreciate the variety that they put into their live show. Do you really want to hear the same 16 or so songs EVERY tour??? The die-hards might say “I payed to hear HEART songs!” I’d say well, you payed to SEE Heart. They can do whatever they damn well please onstage! But yes, it would have been cool to hear some of the other hits performed, like “Never” or “Who Will You Run To.” Mom was disappointed that they didn’t perform “Magic Man,” something that’s been off the set for a number of years now. And to those who don’t know, “All I Wanna Do Is Make Love To You” has been disowned by the group. They haven’t performed that thing in 20 years. Thank goodness 🙂 Thanks to the promoter and venue for continuing to bring celebrated acts and culture to Visalia. Glad I got to spend time with my mom like this, and we’re both glad to cross live Heart off the bucket list.

  1. Kick it Out
  2. Heartless
  3. What About Love
  4. Straight On
  5. There’s the Girl
  6. Two (Ne-Yo)
  7. These Dreams
  8. Alone
  9. Even it Up
  10. God Give Me Strength (B. Bacharach/E. Costello)
  11. The Witch (The Sonics)
  12. Crazy On You
  13. Barracuda
  14. Immigrant Song (Led Zep)
  15. No Quarter (Led Zep)
  16. Misty Mountain Hop (Led Zep)

Credit to Ron Holman with VTD for the concert picture below.

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Posted on November 25, 2015, in Concerts: 2012 - Present, Heart and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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