by J. Scott Rees
The opening week of Heart’s 2014 tour found them at the Circus Maximus Theater in Caesar’s Palace, Atlantic City, NJ. Women In Rock was there to greet them among the capacity crowd. With four decades of musical excellence behind them, Ann & Nancy Wilson continue to attract devoted fans of all ages, and tonight was no exception.
At 9pm, the opening guitar licks of “Barracuda” brought the crowd to its feet as Ann and Nancy entered the stage. The driving beat was deliberate and effective, and this crowd-pleaser was a great start to the night
The band followed up with “Heartless” from their 1978 album, Magazine. From there, a beautiful guitar solo introduced “What About Love”. Ann proved that she still has the power to hit those high notes, which the crowd acknowledged with ovations during the refrain. It was back to the 70’s after that with “Kick It Out”, where Ann’s vocals continued to impress.
After some band introductions, the sisters flashed forward with “Mashalla”, a slow, high-energy piece from their contemporary Fanatic album. This was well-received by the crowd, as the style hearkened back to the band’s original sound.
After some great harmonies in “Even it Up”, the band slowed it down a little with “Nothing But Love”, which Ann dedicated to all single people. Rolling fog along the stage enhanced the mood of the soft ballad.
And what would a Heart concert be without “Dog & Butterfly”? A sonorous keyboard melody was the backbeat for this rendition, and the vocals were as lovely as ever. A segue into “These Dreams” found Nancy soloing and playing mandolin, which complemented the song nicely.
Perhaps the most emotional song of the night was “Alone”. Ann’s vocals were strikingly powerful, and the emotion was so tangible the audience gave a standing ovation at the end.
“Dear Old America” was dedicated to the sisters’ father, a Marine veteran, as Nancy played a beautiful guitar solo. “Crazy on You” brought the end of the set with another standing ovation.
Of course, there was an encore. Much to the crowd’s delight, the band played three Led Zeppelin covers: “The Immigrant Song”, The Rain Song”, and” Misty Mountain Hop”. Ann’s vocals give Robert Plant’s a run for his money. This crowd was certainly not disappointed.