Heart is one of the most successful rock bands ever. One trivia tidbit: The band has now had a Billboard Top 100 album in five straight decades—with a Top 10 album in four of those five.
With such an amazing résumé, the band is expected to deliver—and Heart certainly delivered on Friday night, Jan. 29, at Fantasy Springs.
Heart was due to take the stage around 8 p.m. At that time, the house music changed, getting louder and sounding like stuff you’d hear in a yoga studio—but with a hard-rock edge. After about 10 minutes of that, the lights went down—and Heart started things off with “Kick It Out,” from the 1977 album Little Queen. “Heartless” then followed.
I had never seen Heart perform live before, and within the first 10 minutes, it became clear that Heart’s reputation as a fantastic live band was well-deserved—and beyond. Ann Wilson’s vocals sound extraordinary; at the age of 65, she still easily belts out the difficult parts to songs. Her sister, Nancy Wilson, plays the rhythm guitar well with lead guitarist Craig Bartock; add in the rest of Heart, including drummer Ben Smith, and the band is a well-functioning machine.
During the 75-minute set, the band included both hits and some interesting covers, such as James Brown’s “Get Up Off That Thing.” Another surprise: The Elvis Costello and Burt Bacharach song “God Give Me Strength.”
Sarah Palin infamously used the Heart song “Barracuda” during the 2008 election. I’d felt that whole mess ruined the song, even after the Wilsons made their cease-and-desist case against Palin public. But hearing “Barracuda” live—with the pounding drums and the guitar solo—made me forget all of that … for a few moments, at least.
For the encore, Heart played three Led Zeppelin songs: “Immigrant Song,” “No Quarter,” and “Misty Mountain Hop.” Playing Led Zeppelin songs live is not easy—and taking three songs and making them an encore should be quite the challenge. But it’s Heart we’re talking about here: The greats pulled it off.
Kick It Out
What About Love
Get Up Off That Thing
Even It Up
Bebe Le Strange
God Give Me Strength
Crazy On You
Misty Mountain Hop