Heart, Joan Jett
And Elle King
Love To Blossom
The newly reunited Wilson Sisters brought their “Love Alive” Tour to Blossom Music Center in Cuyahoga Falls. A new-look Heart headlined the near-capacity triple bill of rockin’ female power!
The stage was set to look like a draped theater; the band took the stage in the dark and got right to work with “Rockin’ Heaven Down.” The outfit, featuring three new members and another member touring with the group for the first time since 1995, did not miss a beat. Their first top ten hit, “Magic Man,” provided a chance for each member to shine. They took the tune out on an extended jam that got the entire crowd whipped into a nostalgia-driven frenzy.
Ann, who sounded as good as ever on stage, proclaimed the show was “A hate free zone” before her opening flute solo of “Love Alive.” Taking turns talking to the crowd, Nancy let everyone know that the covers the band plays are based on the past influences on the band. Yes’ “Your Move,” Gladys Knight & The Pips' “Heard It Through the Grapevine” led into their own “Straight On.” “The Boxer” by Simon & Garfunkel made up the last of the string of covers. The band took liberties with each cover and they sounded good, but there was a noticeable lull in the set as the crowd started to sit down, or head to the rest room or concession stand. A legendary Rock ‘N’ Roll Hall of Fame band with sixteen albums and countless hits lost the crowd a bit and probably could have used that "cover" time to play two or three of their own songs. When the first cords of “These Dreams” were played, the crowd was, understandably, back on their feet, singing and dancing to the tunes they came to hear.
It took until the midway point of the set for the sisters to make any sort of eye contact with each other. They stated it was “A Wilson Family reunion. C'est la vie.” After that notion, they shared a warm hug. “Mistral Wind” and “Crazy on You” closed out the set. Notably, each song highlights the sisters' strong point: Ann’s voice on “Wind” and Nancy’s guitar on the latter.
The encore opened with a cover of Zeppelin's overplayed “Stairway to Heaven,” which was the best cover of the evening before closing out the sixteen-song, ninety-minute set with “Alone” and “Barracuda."
Joan Jett & The Blackhearts played an hour long, fourteen-song set that, on its own, was headliner-worthy. Ms. Jett and the band played the hits everyone wanted to hear like a well-oiled machine: “Cherry Bomb,” “Do You Want to Touch Me,” “Bad Reputation,” “I Love Rock’N’Roll” and “Crimson & Clover.” “Crimson” was the highlight of the band's onstage tenure.
Early in the set Joan confessed her love for Cleveland, saying that Cleveland was the city she played most besides her hometown. Before sliding into “Light of Day,” she said all of the concert scenes (for the 1987 Paul Schrader film Light of Day)were filmed here in Cleveland.
Forty plus years later, Joan’s mezzo voice stills sounds on point and the crowd showed her love for her as if she was the headliner.
Elle King, a new generation female rocker, opened the show with an all-too-brief seven song, 35-minute set. The singer, best known for “Ex’s and Oh’s,” sounded tight and commended the crowd as they filled into the amphitheater. “Last Damn Night” served as a perfect opener and “Little Bit of Lovin’” was the perfect closer, leaving everyone wanting to hear more from this up-and-coming chanteuse.
Review by Troy Smith