The Rock Hall Three for All tour was a night of pure classic rock celebrations that came through Arizona recently. Heart with Joan Jett and opening support from Cheap Trick – all three bands that finally got in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame long after they were first eligible – on one bill.
You simply can never go wrong with having Cheap Trick open a show. The energy, the iconic tunes, the anthems – the early crowd that got there to witness them did indeed enjoy a true gem.
While the band played a Greatest Hits style show, they were the epitome of flawlessness and fun. They opened the show with “Hello There,” and kept the focus on the earlier material with “Hot Love,” “California Man” and “Oh Candy.” But they did squeeze out a newer one – “No Direction Home” which they released as a free download prior to their induction (it comes off their 2016 disc Bang Zoom Crazy… Hello). It fit very well in to the set list and reminded you just how good Cheap Trick is.
While Robin was in top form, ever the showman and decked out in his Dream Police uniform, and with Rick ..well…being Rick, the constantly smiling, ever facial expression changing goofy big brother on guitar (he changes guitars more times that Madonna changes outfits) the band brought the set to climax with “I Want You to Want Me,” “Dream Police” and “Surrender”. I tried to count the number of guitar picks Rick Nielsen threw to the crowd but lost track somewhere after 100.
Next up punk took the spotlight. This was the first time I was catching Joan Jett (the only artist on the bill that didn’t allow photographers) and I couldn’t wait to see what I have been missing. She set the mood with “Bad Reputation,” and continued with the chunking chords of “Cherry Bomb”, turning the heat up a little with a cover of Gary Glitter’s “Do You Wanna Touch Me”. Yes, the crowd certainly did.
“TMI”, “Any Weather”, “Crimson and Clover”, “I Hate Myself For Loving You” and “the very first song I ever wrote” – “You Drive Me Wild” followed, getting the crowd ramped up for the biggest explosion of crowd participation of the night: “I Love Rock and Roll”. Leaving the stage sweaty and smiling, the girl showed she still has it, and the crowd wholeheartedly agreed.
Ann and Nancy Wilson hit the stage to a roar from the crowd and they still sound phenomenal after all these years. The entire band is tight and dead on the money. The set ventured from the radio monsters as timeless as “Magic Man,” “Barracuda” and “Crazy On You” to tender ballads like “Two” (recorded for their new album “Beautiful Broken”) and “These Dreams”, both of which featured Nancy on lead vocals. Nancy’s introduction to “These Dreams” shows the down to earth people that the sisters truly are: “This is one of those songs that you probably heard at the store. You probably heard it at the gas station. And you heard it at 7-11 and at the dentist’s office. But it’s a good one and we survived with this song through the ’80s and lived to tell.”
Ann reflected on the band’s early days in an intro to “Even It Up.”
“Back in the 1970s,” she said, “we wrote this next song. And we were some of the only women who were out there doing rock bands yet. But in our mind, the whole thing wasn’t about female power. It was about men and women working together as equals.”
The one thing I always loved when I saw Heart live was the fire they put in to Zeppelin covers. Tonight, they did not disappoint. The venue came unglued when the band performed their high octane versions of “Immigrant Song” and “Stairway to Heaven”.
Thanks to the fun, the energy, hell – just everything – this had to be one of the best shows of 2016.
–This is our first contribution from David Svensen of Crpndeth Photography. David is a long time writer/photographer for KNAC.COM & others (the infamous CrpnDeth) Been there, rocked that!
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