A muscular "Barracuda" brought the crowd to its feet and closed the main set. In very short order Heart returned with some surprise guestsCheap Trick. With Zander sharing the vocals with Ann Wilson, Rick Nielsen on guitar, Petersson on bass and Daxx Nielsen on percussion joining the band, Heart and Cheap Trick brought down the house with a passionate and wonderful version of the Everly Brothers' "Love Hurts." Hometown crowd or not, Joan Jett was going to have a tough act to follow.
Now Joan Jett is definitely a legend and a trailblazerafter all she was a member of the Runaways and as a solo act she has had, with "I Love Rock 'n' Roll," a number 1 Billboard Hot 100 hit. She has also released a number of albums that have been certified gold and/or platinum by the RIAA. But on this hot evening, following her fellow Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame inductees, she had her work cut out for her.
Playing in front of a banner that read "Joan's Beach," Jett and the Blackhearts opened hot with "Bad Reputation," the Runaways' staple "Cherry Bomb" and "Do You Wanna Touch Me (Oh Yeah)." She also closed the main set strong with "I Love Rock 'n' Roll," "Crimson & Clover" and "I Hate Myself for Loving You." It was the middle eight (so to speak), actually ten, where she sagged. With the exception of "Light of Day" and perhaps "Love Is Pain" the middle of the set was a bit lagging and dragging. It is possible that Jett and the band had a bit of hometown jitters.
On the encores, the covers of Johnny O'Keefe & The Dee Jays' "Real Wild Child (Wild One), which most people identify as an Iggy Pop tune, and Sly & The Family Stone's "Everyday People," Jett and her Blackhearts really shined. They rocked. They rolled and they played as though their lived depended upon it.
On the whole, Jett & the Blackhearts' performance was good. It was just too long. From the less is more school of thought, had Jett and her band stuck to the first three songs, "Light Of Day," "Love Is Pain" a choice album track or two, and the last three tunes, along with the encores, it would have delivered a near perfect performance.
The package tour was and is a great ideain this case three recent inductees into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame all of whom still perform at the level that got them enshrined. These three bands are what rock 'n' roll is all about. They play real instruments; they play their own instruments and their vocals are "real" not enhanced. Let's hope that they continue to do what they've been doing for all these yearsplay amazing rock "n' roll.
Photo Credit: Christine Connallon
[Additional article contributions by Christine Connallon