Joan Jett may be 60—but she didn’t show any signs of slowing down in the slightest when she rocked the Fantasy Springs Event Center on Sunday night, May 26.
Jett’s attire—a black bodysuit with bedazzled stars, leaving her arms and shoulders exposed—made her resemble a female pro-wrestler. But she’s an ass-kicker in rock ’n’ roll—so it wasn’t a bad look for her.
After starting with “Victim of Circumstance,” she immediately went into “Cherry Bomb,” the 1976 song made famous by her previous band, The Runaways. She followed that up with her cover of Gary Glitter’s “Do You Want to Touch Me.”
Toward the middle of her show, she talked about the 1987 box-office bomb of a film she did with Michael J. Fox, Light of Day. She mentioned that Bruce Springsteen wrote the title track, which is performed by Jett and Fox at the end of the film—and then said she was going to play it. Her version of the song, combined with the talents of the Blackhearts, was a treat to hear.
The show came during Memorial Day weekend. While Jett has supported anti-war presidential candidates in recent years, she is a staunch supporter of American service members, and she dedicated the night to all of the active and retired members of the military, which earned her loud applause.
She mentioned a documentary that she took part in about her career, Bad Reputation, and played a song from the film, called “Fresh Start.”
Jett briefly discussed Hurricane Sandy, which ravaged the East Coast in 2012. Like everyone else, she said, she had a hard time not being able to run out and simply buy essentials, like normal—but that there was a network of people sharing what they had with others. She said to remember people who have survived any kind of disaster and to help them, before playing “Make It Back.”
Of course, no Joan Jett set is complete without “I Love Rock ’n’ Roll,” “Crimson and Clover” and “I Hate Myself for Loving You,” and those were the last three songs in the regular set. When she came back out for the encore, she played another song I considered a treat—a cover of the Replacements’ “Androgynous.” She also added her cover of the Dee Jays’ “Real Wild Child (Wild One),” and then closed with her rad cover of Sly and the Family Stone’s “Everyday People.”
The Blackhearts roster appears to change regularly, given I couldn’t find a current roster—and Jett did mention that her keyboard player couldn’t make the show. Regardless, the guys she had for Sunday’s show played her songs beautifully and kept the energy levels high. Oh … and a shout-out to Jett for the leather pride sticker on one of her guitars.
Country singer/songwriter Elle King was the opening act—which seemed like a strange pairing, but the audience loved her. King’s voice is sort of an acquired taste, but she’s a smart songwriter and a talented multi-instrumentalist—and sometimes, a gritty voice can work in your favor. She played a good mix of material from her 2015 album, Love Stuff, and her 2018 album, Shake the Spirit, which goes into detail about her failed marriage, substance-abuse problems and spiritual awakenings. Of course, she closed her set with her 2015 hit, “Ex’s and Oh’s.”