WILKES-BARRE, PA—From the show’s opener to the encore’s last crowd pleaser, Heart’s May 19 performance at Wilkes Barre’s art deco gem, The F.M. Kirby Center For The Performing Arts, was exceptional and included a version of “Alone” so intimate and perfect that made everything I’ve ever accomplished worthless. Yeah, I guess you could say that…
Throughout, Ann Wilson’s presence and command of her gifts as a singer, songwriter, and performer have never been more evident while the band as a whole was beat-for-beat perfect. In terms of the evening’s song selection, I was happy to see “Barracuda” moved from show opener, as in their 2013 tour, to closer. It seemed appropriate to hold the power-chord masterpiece until later in the show so that anticipation could build during other favorites like “Magic Man,” “Bebe Le Strange,” and a heavier cover of Robin Trower’s “Day Of The Eagle.” From Nancy Wilson’s incomparable “Crazy On You” guitar intro and excellent lead vocals on “These Dreams” and “There’s The Girl,” to what seemed to be a slightly funkier “Straight On,” Heart delivered a show true to its classics and did justice to their consistent talent and influence.
After the show I overheard some grumbling about how other songs like “Never” and “All I Wanna Do Is Make Love To You” seemed to be missing from the performance. And, sure, it would have been great if the set played out like a comprehensive Greatest Hits album but when the lights came back on, I felt the song selection was an even balance of tunes from Heart’s career, and then some. Regardless of how the songs play out, fans at a Heart show shouldn’t expect any elaborate reworking or new interpretations of the band’s classics but should, instead, anticipate a night of pure entertainment and enjoy songs that have become timeless and iconic. We’re so fortunate to be able to catch a band that, after four decades, still performs with energy, excitement, and appreciation for a crowd that stayed on its feet through the entire set and three-song encore. Add all of that to a show that started pretty much on-time (it’s the little things) and ended early enough for me to make the long drive home and the night was, by all measures, a success.
Catch Heart for yourself this summer:
6/28/15: Sunbury Ridge Winery, Sunbury PA
6/30/15: The OnCenter Crouse Hinds Theater, Syracuse NY
7/3/15: Foxwoods Resort Casino, Mashantucket CT
7/25/15: Citi Field, Flushing NY