The first time I saw Heart perform live was in the mid-1980s, when Ann and Nancy Wilson were at the zenith of their MTV-fueled, sexed-up popularity, and the band filled the Forum near Los Angeles to its 17,000-seat capacity. Flash forward some three decades, and you’d think playing in a small Vegas club to a crowd 10 times smaller would be somewhat of a comedown for the Wilson sisters, not to mention serve as an indication that their skills had eroded. Absolutely neither was true. From the first riff of show-opener “Barracuda” to the final note of a three-song, Led Zeppelin-cover encore, the sisters confirmed they not only can still command a stage—no matter the size—but they can also rock as hard and as well as they did in the early 1970s.
Not to discount the contributions of the band’s four hired hands—a talented group that capably handled Heart’s deep catalog, and then some—but this show was all about the Wilsons. Looking and sounding at least 20 years younger, 60-year-old Nancy shined on the electric and acoustic guitar, particularly on classics “Even It Up” and “Crazy on You.” She even broke out the mandolin and handled vocals (superbly) on the hit ballad “These Dreams.” As for older sister Ann, there’s not much to say other than she continues to possess one of the strongest, most versatile voices—male or female—in rock history. To hear her nail every single note in such vocally challenging songs as “Alone” and “What About Love,” not to mention do justice to Robert Plant on the Zeppelin covers—all at the ripe young age of 64—is worth the price of admission.
In an era when the majority of past-their-prime rock bands have a tough time wearing their years, the Wilson sisters proved that—at least in their case—age is indeed just a number. ★★★★✩
What About Love
Even It Up
Kick It Out
Let Me Roll It (Wings cover)
Day of the Eagle (Robin Trower cover)
Crazy on You
Immigrant Song (Led Zeppelin cover)
No Quarter (Led Zeppelin cover)
Misty Mountain Hop (Led Zeppelin cover)
Photos by Linda Evans