Review by James West,
Photos by Danette West,
ROCKER CHIC'S RULE!
North Island Credit Union Amphiteatre
San Diego, California
August 27, 2019
Dime In The
Juke Box Baby!
It’s no lie that The Rocker Chic and I LOVE going to concerts. It’s like our own personal escape from the world and a chance to not only enjoy each other’s company, but also to witness the true power of music in its purest form. The Art of live music can either be a truly unforgettable experience or an experience you wish you could undo and truly forget!
Thankfully seeing the Heart/Joan Jett/Elle King performance recently at San Diego’s North Island Credit Union Amphitheatre turned into a truly magical experience for all who were in attendance! “Rocker Chic’s Rule” is the best way to sum up this great evening.
As is our ritual in going to concerts we like to crank the band’s tunes to whom we are going to witness on the drive there. In my mind I imagined a Heart show that truly represented the “Light and Shade” aspect of their body of work. What I love about this band is that they have this Led Zeppelin-type vibe to their songs, and it was nice to see a setlist that fully incorporated all these elements to deliver a performance worthy of their incredible volume of work.
Our twenty-dollar seats were for the lawn section of the amphitheatre, so I had visions of the two of us frolicking on the grass and chilling on a nice blanket while grooving to the sounds of some great bands. Unfortunately, frolicking around doesn’t do much for taking pictures worthy of a review. Also, I found out quickly that this 55-year-old body of mine doesn’t know how to “Frolic” anymore! All it took was one pop a squat and my back started screaming for an upgrade. So, for a small fee we scored some really nice seats halfway up the venue in the middle and perfect for descent pictures and even better for my aching back!
Unfortunately, during this midlife-crisis we missed most of Elle King’s performance and didn’t get any pictures of this very talented singer. The Ex’s and Oh’s performer sounded great and offered up a cool mixture of country, soul, rock and blues.
The last time The Rocker Chic and I saw Joan Jett and The Blackhearts they were with Tesla and Styx in Irvine last year.
The Queen of Rock and Roll put on another great show this year in San Diego, and Joan still has that great soprano-type voice and guitar skills that pay the bills in a live setting.
I have always liked the fact that with Joan it is all about the band, which includes original member Kenny Laguna on keyboards and current members Dougie Needles on guitar, Michael McDermott on drums, and Hal B. Selzer on bass. “We are The Blackhearts” she exclaimed several times during the set, which featured a good mix of greatest hits, covers, and album cuts covering her entire career and of course “Cherry Bomb” from the Runaways. The Sixty-year-old also performed the first song she ever wrote, “You Drive Me Wild” which easily could have been a big hit as well.
Standout songs for me came later in the set with a trio of great songs, “I Love Rock And Roll”, followed by Tommy James and the Shondell’s “Crimson & Clover,” and also “I Hate Myself For Loving You.”
Following Joan Jett’s great set, the stage was transformed from a minimalist Punk-vibe to more of a Grand Ballroom-type setting for Heart’s performance.
The last time The Rocker Chic and I saw Heart was when they opened for Def Leppard in Las Vegas in 2011. A lot has happened in the Heart camp since then, including friction between the Wilson sisters. But thankfully that tension has eased and the dynamic duo is back on the road again.
If anything, this tension has brought more focus on Heart’s performances and has given them a better vision as to what they want their concerts to be about- A celebration of their legacy with a nod to the inspirational influences who have helped shape the landscape of their incredible music. As a lifetime fan of Heart what I witnessed the other night was exactly what I had always wanted to see from the band in a live setting! The music and vocals were delivered with more passion and focus than what I had witnessed before, and the stage presentation, lights, and effects were all used to dramatic effect to enhance the performance.
It was simply an honor to see and hear my favorite Heart songs- Love Alive, Dog and Butterfly, Little Queen, Mistral Wind, and Barracuda among others played with passion and intensity. Plus, it was interesting to hear influential songs like ‘Your Move’ from Yes; ‘I Heard It Through The Grapevine’ from Gladys Knight and the Pips/Marvin Gaye; ‘The Boxer’ from Simon & Garfunkel; and of course ‘Stairway to Heaven’ from Led Zeppelin. These songs all inspired Ann and Nancy; and their interpretations of these classics truly inspired me the other night.
Band members Craig Bartock on guitar, Andy Stoller on bass, Dan Walker on keyboards, Denny Fongheiser on drums, and Ryan Waters on guitar all played with authority and precision which helped push the performance to new levels. But The Rocker Chic and I couldn’t help but focus our cameras mostly on Ann and Nancy. Whether it was capturing Ann’s cool and sometimes freaky expressions and hand gestures or capturing Nancy’s awesome jumps and hair flips we were both having a great time shooting away from our upgraded seats.
This renewed energy and spirit from the Wilson sisters is a sight you don’t want to miss, so I highly recommend checking out the Love Alive Tour when it rolls into your town and bites you like a Barracuda!