With Heart being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this month, perhaps I expected too much from this show. It’s not that the band didn’t sound great: Ann Wilson, at age 62, has lost nothing from one of the most commanding female voices in rock, and sister Nancy Wilson, 59, capably provided backing vocals while showing her musical dexterity on both electric and acoustic guitar. Yet the performance seemed a bit ordinary for a band about to receive such a prestigious honor.
The Wilson sisters, backed by a four-piece band, opened with the fiery “Barracuda,” but the galloping rhythm of the rock classic was slowed to a chugging cadence. And even the ballad “What About Love” was more deliberate, which, although it allowed Ann to stretch out vocally, gave the song a plodding tempo. Underrated rockers such as “Kick It Out” and “Even It Up” freshened up the show, and Ann displayed her voice’s full range of power and beauty on ballads such as “Dog and Butterfly” and “Alone.” Heart peppered the set with three songs from their 2012 album Fanatic, including the title track, which seamlessly fit in next to classics such as “Magic Man” and “These Dreams,” which featured Nancy on lead vocals and mandolin.
But in a milestone year for the band, Heart didn’t offer any surprises or rarities from their back catalog, closing the 15-song show with an encore of “Magic Man” and a rousing cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Black Dog,” leaving the stage after just 80 minutes. Perhaps in another year, this would have been easier to accept. But a Hall of Fame-caliber performance this was not.★★★☆☆