Heart goes back to its roots in show at First Niagara Pavilion
Perhaps, to reinforce the band's recent induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Heart strongly emphasized its hard rock roots over pop ballads of the 1980s on Sunday night at the First Niagara Pavilion in Burgettstown.
Ann Wilson came out swinging with the growling, intense “Barracuda.” She ended the show with a beautiful, rocking rendition of “Stairway to Heaven,” which capped a long, six-song encore that offered mostly rocking Led Zeppelin songs performed with opening act Jason Bonham, who also sang some Zeppelin classics during his portion of the Heartbreaker tour.
There's no question that these Wilsons — sisters Ann and Nancy — can rock. Powerfully. This may have surprised some younger fans who knew Heart mostly for the band's comeback in the 1980s, when Heart shifted to a lighter pop sound.
The sisters almost gave the crowd the impression that they want to pretend, as much as they can get away with, that their success in the 1980s never happened. The band only sang three songs from that era, and they were “These Dreams,” “What About Love,” and “Alone.” Everything else came from the band's earlier days and their 2012 album “Fanatic.”
While Heart's shift in style may have been a departure from the band's main identity as hard rockers in a music genre dominated by men, the band can't forget that millions of their fans came from that era. To hear so little from a major point of the band's career — even as great as the other music sounded — was a disservice to these fans.
The band also stripped down the instrumentation on “Alone,” almost eliminating the instrumentation in the chorus. Seeing Ann Wilson belt out this song, one of the prettiest power rock ballads ever, is one of the highlights of a Heart concert. It remained a special treat, despite the disappointing background sound.
Both Ann Wilson — clad in a glittery, tasseled, black wrap — and Nancy still sound mostly great and mostly the same. These women likely will continue making and performing for many years beyond their four decades.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Shania’s first tour in 11 years includes Pittsburgh stop
- PLS Trio seems like more voices on ‘East River’
- Kelly Clarkson to play First Niagara Pavilion on July 19
- James Carter Organ Trio brings new energy, new metrics, new swagger
- Album reviews: Goods brings funk to ‘Three Rivers’
- Microtonal music festival goes off the beaten scale in Pittsburgh
- Aretha Franklin plans April show at Heinz Hall
- Pittsburgh Rock ’N Roll Legends Awards honors rock legends, locals
- Pittsburgh producer revives, re-airs an expanded ‘Motown 25 ’