There are some things in life which are a given, and “don’t put your hand around a child’s neck” is one of those things. Don’t do it to any children, and certainly not to your sister-in-law’s twins. That incident, involving Dean “husband of Ann Wilson” Wetter and Nancy Wilson’s teen sons, put the kibosh on Heart activity for three years, and understandably so.
And it was all aired in public of course, Nancy Wilson very naturally defending her children to the hilt, with Ann placed horribly in-between her husband, sister and nephews. We all recoiled in horror at the sheer nastiness of the whole situation. Thank Christ, then, that they’ve managed to get past it and revive this great band. More on that later…
Earlier in the evening, Elle King surprised many with a set of authentic, dusty alt-country. Flanked by a killer band, she ran through a short set that included a savvy cover of Stevie Nicks’ “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around,” and her tremendously catchy hit single “Ex’s & Oh’s.” With many people yet to take their seats, King just got on with her job and made some new friends.
Joan Jett strutted onto the Hollywood Bowl like the queen of rock & roll that she is (at the very least she’s the princess to Suzi Quatro’s queen, but we digress), and the roars of approval were rapturous. L.A. rock faces were among those cheering, including (close to us) the great Alice Bag, plus Precious Metal’s Leslie Knauer — both female rockers that are well aware of the cultural impact Jett has had over the years.
The set is stellar — “Victim of Circumstance,” “Bad Reputation,” “I Hate Myself for Loving You,” the Arrows’ “I Love Rock ’n’ Roll” and Tommy James & the Shondells’ “Crimson & Clover.” The inclusion of Gary Glitter’s “Do you Wanna Touch Me (Oh Yeah)” seems icky to us now; though there will be some debating in favor of separating the art from the artist, that one is a step too far.
The set’s highlights were the TWO Runaways songs — “Cherry Bomb” and “You Drive Me Wild” — Jett was a teen when she recorded them but she injects both with a heavy dose of youthful energy in 2019. The world still needs Joan Jett.
We still need Heart too, and we’re lucky to have them. The Wilsons seem all smiles as they made their way onto the stage, and later they threw superlatives at each other like “inimitable” and “unbelievable,” so we can assume that the “incident” is behind them.
More importantly, they were harmonizing beautifully, and they both seemed to really enjoy performing these songs. The set list has stayed pretty much the same throughout this tour, so it was well-drilled by the time they reached L.A.
Early favorites like “Magic Man,” “Little Queen” and “Rockin’ Heaven Down” sat beautifully alongside ’80s tunes (given a bit of a contemporary makeover) “Alone” and “These Dreams.” Some might say that there were too many covers in the set, but Simon & Garfunkel’s “The Boxer” showcased the sisters’ still awesome voices.
“Barracuda” was the only way to close this show, before we all made our way back down these Hollywood Hills while mentally reliving a great show. Tonight, Heart was in the right place.