Written by David Clements
They called it the ‘Rock Hall Three for All’ and it featured Heart, Joan Jett and Cheap Trick…all three having been inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame. Heart in 2013 (after having been eligible for over a decade!), Joan Jett in 2015 and Cheap Trick in 2016. All three bands, in this reviewer’s opinion, deserving of the honor.
Cheap Trick opened the evening in fine fashion although I thought Joan Jett should have kicked things off. CT fought the heat from the setting sun like the pros they are and never stopped giving their all throughout the 13 song set. From the minute they kicked off with Hello There until the time they walked off after Goodnight they were in constant motion and looking like they were really glad to be there. It was obvious they impressed this sold out crowd, even those who filled the rain soaked lawn. Of course they played there hits I Want You To Want Me and Dream Police which had these fans dancing happily in the mud puddles!
This was my first time to ‘experience’ Cheap Trick live and it took me no time at all to enjoy the show I was watching and the music I was hearing. Lead Guitarist Rick Nielsen provided me with plenty of photo ops especially when he tried to take me out with one of his high powered guitar pics. The guy is a good shot with those little projectiles and I think he also got Woodlands Pavilion house photographer Mr. Ted Washington with one!
Joan Jett was up next and it was also the first time I had seen her perform live. Again, no disappointment whatsoever for this reviewer. She can rock and roll with the best of them (easily explaining her Hall of Fame status) and plays a pretty mean guitar. For sure she looks the part and flashes a great smile that leaves you sure that she’s been up to something naughty.
But what drives me wild is that, though deserved, she is in the R&R Hall of Fame while so many others just as worthy are not. On the very top of my ‘can’t believe it’ list is Pat Benatar! How can that be? Certainly takes away from the credibility of ‘The Hall’. Did I mention that Stevie Nicks isn’t in as a solo artist either? No Carole King?! The Go-Go’s aren’t in. And neither are The Marvelettes, American girl group pioneers! Is there anyone in the free world (over a certain age, of course) that doesn’t know Please Mr. Postman? Maybe the postman should send letters encouraging the resignations of R&R Hall of Fame decision makers. These omissions are absurd!
Rant over (for now) and on to Heart, appropriately our headliner on this night. Ann and Nancy Wilson are indeed exceptional. If there was a ‘top shelf’ in the HOF, these two ladies would be on it. They take R&R to a new level and, in my judgement, have few peers. They started their 15 song set with Wild Child, following with their amazing, multiple kick-ass songs like Magic Man, What About Love, Bebe Le Strange, These Dreams, Straight On, Kick It Out, Alone, Crazy On You and Barracuda. It’s impossible to say which song performance I enjoyed more because they are all just that good. Even the title song off of their new album Beautiful Broken was excellent.
Heart closed the evening by doing their own personal take on classic Led Zeppelin songs. It’s obvious they feel reverence for this band and gave Immigrant Song their all. Covering a band like LZ, you had better be able to deliver. They did…and then some. The closure, iconic Stairway to Heaven, left us all with goose bumps and wanting more.
And a non-music related highlight of the evening was the beautiful transformation of Ann Wilson. She was almost unrecognizable from the lady who performed last time Heart was in Houston. She looked very healthy and happy, slimmer and stunning. Maybe this wouldn’t have impacted everyone’s enjoyment of the show, but it did mine! Ann and Nancy…you rock!
Until next time please support live music and remember there is no time to kill.