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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, September 6 2013 - Volume 41 Issue 36
Heart pumps new blood into old songs
Arts & Entertainment
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Heart pumps new blood into old songs

by Albert Rodriguez - SGN A&E Writer

HEART
BUMBERSHOOT/KEY ARENA
August 31


Seattle rock band Heart was in peak form when they delivered a mindblowing performance to Bumbershoot fans last weekend at Key Arena. It was so good, in fact, that festivalgoers were still marveling about it the next day.

The group ripped into their opening number, 'Barracuda,' with Ann Wilson's meaty, powerful vocals surfacing over deep and heavy guitars. 'Heartless' and the midtempo 'What About Love' were songs two and three on the set list, which was stacked with very early material from Heart's catalog, as well as six covers of Led Zeppelin classics.

'I want to welcome everyone to our world, which is your world,' said Ann, sporting dark, curly hair and dressed in a black skirt and lacy rose-colored sweater top.

'Magic Man' sounded as mystifying and exciting as the first time I heard it in our family basement, especially the swelling keyboards during the bridge. Heart played back-to-back ballads from their successful '80s era, 'These Dreams' and a slower-paced, mesmerizing rendition of 'Alone' that earned the band, especially Ann, a loud burst of applause.

'This is our hometown,' said Nancy Wilson, wearing black pants and a light blue overcoat. 'And there's only one hometown!' The crowd, somewhere close to 15,000 strong, roared in response.

The pop-style version of 'Dog & Butterfly' with added keyboards was interesting, certainly a bit different from its folkier roots, though Nancy gave it a beautiful introduction with acoustic guitar. 'Even It Out' was an all-out jam. The closing tune of the main set, 'Crazy On You,' found Ann doing what she does best, belting out the lyrics with her robust, soulful pipes. With accompaniment by Mike McCready of Pearl Jam, it got the entire house on its feet.

JASON BONHAM JOINS IN
A reasonably long encore, featuring all Led Zeppelin tracks, began with the Wilson sisters dueting magnificently on 'Battle of Evermore.' Jason Bonham, son of the late Zep drummer John Bonham, and his band collaborated with Heart for the remainder of the concert, adding more great sound and extra vocals to 'Misty Mountain Hop,' 'Immigrant Song,' and 'The Rain Song.' But Ann, the undisputed star of the show, whose voice hasn't tarnished at all, soared on the final two numbers, an excellent run-through of 'Kashmir' and a vigorous cover of 'Stairway to Heaven' featuring the Total Experience Gospel Choir of Seattle in the background.

Heart was inducted into the prestigious Rock and Roll Hall of Fame just a few months ago. Saturday night's appearance marked the first time they'd ever played at Bumbershoot, and they definitely gave one of the finest performances I've ever witnessed at the Labor Day weekend festival.

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